A new smart tool has been developed to help inform growers of the optimum application timings for metazachlor and quinmerac, to minimise the risk to water.
Launching this autumn, BASF’s wHen2gO provides the opportunity to extend the application window of key oilseed rape herbicides into November when it can be demonstrated that the tool has been used.
The wHen2gO Smart Tool considers soil type, drainage and cultivation method to account for the drainage rate of the soil in the field. By pairing this information with forecasted weather, the tool will then provide an eight-day forecast with a traffic light system indicating the optimum timing of product application for water stewardship.
At present, the stewardship advice for metazachlor and quinmerac is voluntary.
If you are in a drinking water safeguard zone these actives need to be applied no later than September 30 and outside of these zones the latest application date is October 15, but only if soil conditions are good and will not result in drain flow.
However, by demonstrating use of the wHen2gO Smart Tool, and following its advice, these restrictions have been relaxed, offering increased flexibility for applications.
Paul Goddard, BASF stewardship and value chain manager, says: “Closed periods based on dates gave a step forward in water stewardship, however they have limitations with the potential to force applications into a very small window and with no account for the weather.
“Ultimately wHen2gO will not make the decision for you, that must be done by the sprayer operator, but it does enable a more informed decision to be made.”
As a result, when using the tool, the application window for metazachlor and quinmerac applications is now being extended into November when it can be shown wHen2gO has been used.
“We have developed this Smart Tool with both water requirements and growers in mind. We are trying to help people do the right thing with regard to stewardship of water which will in turn help to maintain the chemistry. Detections of metazachlor and quinmerac, in water at non-compliant levels pose a threat to their registration, so it is important that we take steps now to minimise this,” Mr Goddard adds.
By following the wHen2gO recommendation, the product is more likely to stay in the field where it is needed, minimising the risk to water.
With no log in required, the tool is quick and simple to use, providing a recommendation in less than a minute which can be saved or printed off to provide evidence that water stewardship has been included in the application.
Mr Goddard says: “We are now at the point where the industry needs to move from awareness to action. The wHen2gO Smart Tool allows growers and agronomists to demonstrate their action”.
wHen2Go has been developed independently with Agrimetrics, part of the Government’s tech strategy for agriculture. Agrimetrics provides, connects and analyses complex data for greater food productivity delivered sustainably using data, analytics and artificial intelligence.
Development independent of BASF offers the potential for other actives to be included in the wHen2gO Smart Tool in the future.
“Growers/agronomists need one industry stewardship tool for all products, not different stewardship tools from different manufacturers,” Mr Goddard says.
The web based wHen2gO Smart Tool will be available for all devices via the BASF agricentre website.