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James Bourke, B.Ag.Sc.
Docks are a common, deep rooted, persistent weed problem on many farms. The perennial broadleaf weed will seriously limit grassland output and productivity unless managed correctly.
The best control of all for docks is good grassland management. Maintaining a dense, leafy grass sward will help to smother out emerging docks. In this regard, having a fertile soil with adequate levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium along with a suitable pH for grass growth is massively important. Also, avoiding poaching and overgrazing will limit the space for docks to emerge. Open swards after tight grazing and heavy regular silage cuts promote docks. A freshly cut silage field leaves a perfect environment for dock seeds to establish. The dock seed needs light, air and plenty of nutrients to establish. Teagasc research suggests that docks germinate and thrive better where there are high potassium levels. Regular slurry applications build up or provide K for dock establishment.
General Dock Control
Chemical Control in Clover and Non-Clover Grassland
Regarding chemical control of dock, if protecting clover is a must, Eagle is the product of choice. If protecting clover is not a priority, any one of Forefront T, Envy, Pastor Trio, Doxstar Pro, Pasture Pack, and Hurler are an option and should be chosen based on price point, and variety of weeds controlled.
James Bourke is the Dairygold Grassland Specialist, providing a free advice service to our customers. Please contact James on 086 793 8408 or your Area Sales Manager for any queries on which product suits your needs and more information on offers.