New herbicide helps pulse growers tackle resistant grass weeds

with Ashley Pilkington, Adama

The launch of a new pre-emergent herbicide this season is giving pulse growers more mix-and-rotate options to tackle resistance in key grass weeds.

Ashley Pilkington, Adama’s market development manager in South Australia, says the commercial release of Ultro® (carbetamide) brings a completely different mode of action into the weed control program for pulses.

“Carbetamide, a Group 23 [E] herbicide, has been developed and trialed successfully for several years in southern farming systems,” he says. “It gives pulse growers another rotational tool and will easily slot into their weed control program. Ultro offers increased flexibility in application timing, particularly in years with a dry start.”

Carbetamide provides effective control of three major grass weeds – annual ryegrass, barley grass and brome grass – including populations resistant to other herbicide groups.   

Mixing and rotating herbicide modes of action is central to sustainable herbicide use in cropping systems,” says Ashley. “Implementing the WeedSmart Big 6 throughout the crop rotation is the best way to minimise the impact of herbicide resistance in weeds. Having more modes of action available in the pulse phase means growers can follow a more diverse herbicide program.”

Many weeds growing in control plot compared to minimal grass weeds in plot treated with Ultro

Adama’s new mode of action (MOA) for pulses supports growers to implement the WeedSmart strategy to mix and rotate herbicide MOA in cropping systems. Left: Untreated Control (UTC) in lentils. Right: Ultro 900 WG 1.7 kg/ha applied IBS in lentils.

What is the new use pattern for carbetamide?

In brief: Adama is reintroducing carbetamide to the Australian market with a new registration for pre-emergent use in broad beans, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils, lupins and vetch; and in winter fallow.

The details: Carbetamide was formerly registered in Australia for selective weed control in lucerne, clovers and medics, as well as a long history of blackgrass control in the United Kingdom. The pre-emergent use pattern in winter pulses introduces a new mode of action to winter broadacre cropping rotations.

The herbicide can be applied up to seven days before being incorporated by sowing (IBS) and requires rainfall within two or three weeks to complete incorporation and activation of the product, and initiate weed seed germination.

Carbetamide is taken up primarily in the plant roots and most of the grass weed control comes through failed emergence of weed seedlings. Plants that do emerge will suffer stunted growth and severe root pruning. These plants rarely produce seed panicles and usually die within a few weeks of germinating.

Carbetamide provides reliable pre-emergent control of the target grass weeds for at least 10 to 12 weeks, giving the crop a competitive edge. All pre-emergence herbicides perform best when crops are sown in the most competitive configuration possible.

It is WeedSmart wisdom to always scout for, and eliminate, survivors of any herbicide treatment. An in-crop application of clethodim, or clethodim + butroxydim, provides effective control of survivors or very late weed germinations.

How can I best use carbetamide in my herbicide program?

In brief: Tick off an important WeedSmart Big 6 tactic – Mix and rotate herbicide modes of action.

The details: Carbetamide adds to the suite of pre-emergent options for pulse growers. Currently, trifluralin and propyzamide, both Group 3 (D), simazine [Group 5, (C)] and pyroxasulfone [Group 15, (K)] are the only options for pre-emergent control of grass weeds in pulses. Trials have demonstrated that carbetamide is equal to or slightly better than propyzamide, the current industry standard. This gives growers an immediate alternative to rotate chemistry in their pulse program.

Carbetamide is effective against ryegrass, barley grass and brome grass with resistance to Group 15 [J and K, (e.g. Sakura and Boxer Gold)] herbicide MOA, providing an opportunity to drive down numbers of resistant populations in the pulse phase.

Since carbetamide is active only on grasses, it is useful to tank mix it with a broadleaf herbicide such as simazine and with paraquat, a knockdown herbicide. Note that carbetamide is not compatible with K-salt glyphosate formulations. Adding carbetamide to paraquat in the second application in a double-knock tactic will ensure crops can get off to a clean start.

An in-crop application of clethodim, or clethodim + butroxydim, also helps achieve a multi-pronged mix and rotate strategy in pulses. ‘Mixing’ modes of action does not have to be in the form of a tank mix.

What precautions do I need to take to use this new MOA sustainably?

In brief: Rotate and restrict use in the same paddock to no more than one application in four years.

The details: Carbetamide is subject to microbial degradation in the soil. More frequent use of the product promotes the build-up of the specific microbial species that degrade the herbicide molecule, reducing the longevity of future weed control with this MOA.

Although microbial degradation also affects propyzamide, the suite of microbes are different, so these two herbicides can be safely rotated in the pulse phase.

Be sure to check the re-cropping interval and rainfall requirements for safe planting of the following crop, for example, there is a 9 month and 250 mm rainfall requirement before planting barley, oats, wheat, soybeans and sunflowers. If in doubt, canola is a safe option, requiring only 6 months re-cropping interval. This offers a double-break opportunity to put heavy pressure on the grass weed seed bank.

More information



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