Rushes can be managed by using herbicides applied by either a boom sprayer, knapsack or a weed-wiper. Weed-wipers can manage rushes more efficiently than conventional boom sprayers using less chemical with a dramatic reduction in spray drift by ‘wiping’ the top of the weed. Weed-wipers are only licensed for use with glyphosate, a chemical that has potentially less impact on water quality as it can break down in the water environment much more quickly than MCPA.
The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) carried out weed-control trials as part of their Rush Control Technology Project, holding demonstrations at a number of farms over a 4 year period where plots of rushes were controlled using a number of different methods:
- Mechanical cutting
- Weed-wiping with glyphosate
- Cutting and weed-wiping the regrowth with glyphosate
- Boom spraying with MCPA
The plot cut and later weed-wiped with glyphosate showed the most effective rush control and demonstrated minimal water pollution.
NI Water have worked in conjunction with CAFRE in The Water Catchment Partnership since 2013 and endorse their advice on weed-wipers and best practice pesticide practices.