Arylex™ Active Weed Control Protects Teff and Farmers’ Time

Something went wrong. Please try again later...
img Ethiopian

Some are calling it the next “superfood.” High in iron, magnesium, protein and fiber, teff is the smallest cereal grain, about the size of a poppyseed, but it has some outsized potential as a crop.

Teff has traditionally been grown in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it’s a staple food used in a flatbread called injera, as well as in stews and porridges. Recently, it’s gained global attention as a gluten-free grain option rich in nutrients, and it’s becoming a more popular forage crop known for high yields and high quality.

Teff is also getting noticed for its resiliency. Because it has a shallow root system, teff resists drought and waterlogging,1-2 a valuable feature as farmers contend with extreme weather.

However, teff is also a labor-intensive crop. Cultivating the tiny seeds requires careful soil preparation and sowing. Winnowing and harvest are often done by hand. The harvested grain is so small, much of it can be lost in handling and transport. In fact, the word “teff” comes from the word teffa, which means “lost” in Amharic, one of the main languages of Ethiopia.2

Teff seeds
Teff seeds

With tiny grains, teff gets its name from the Amharic word for “lost.” This cereal crop is gaining global popularity for its nutritional profile in food and forage, and the way it grows well in tough conditions.

Addressing weed competition

In Ethiopia, teff farming is the main source of income for almost 7 million smallholder farmers.3 Teff is plagued by weed competition, which causes these farmers harvest losses of 65% or more.4 Hand-weeding is recommended twice in the season — at three and seven weeks after sowing — but this management practice is incredibly labor-intensive. Farmers in Ethiopia — and in other places where teff farming is gaining popularity — can greatly benefit from a selective broadleaf herbicide that helps control weeds and reduces the need for manual labor.

Ashebir Gebre farms two hectares where he grows a variety of crops, including teff, which he sells locally. It’s a good crop, Gebre says, “because it’s stable and has good profitability,” but weeds are an issue. He explains, “Because teff plants are similar [in appearance] to some grass weeds at an early stage, we have to wait for the weeds to grow. Then it can be difficult for hand weeding.”

Ashebir Gebre in the farm
Ashebir Gebre farms two hectares in Ethiopia. He likes growing teff because it’s a stable and profitable crop.
Ashebir Gebre in the farm
Ashebir Gebre farms two hectares in Ethiopia. He likes growing teff because it’s a stable and profitable crop.

Arylex™ active is a herbicide active ingredient from Corteva Agriscience that can be used to control broadleaf weeds. Arylex is used in weed control for many cereal crops around the world — which makes it a good candidate for controlling weeds in teff, too. It rapidly degrades in soil and plant tissues, making it an ideal choice for crop rotation strategies that are not only common in cereal farming, but are a good practice for maintaining soil health and reducing erosion.

Arylex is also effective at use rates many times lower than some other herbicides used in cereals, and it represents a new structural class of auxin mimic herbicides, which work as plant growth regulators. A low use rate and new type of chemistry are both vital for reducing risks of weeds developing resistance. That’s important in teff where weed pressures are especially high.

List of benefits of Arylex active
List of benefits of Arylex active

A new weed control option for teff farmers in Ethiopia

A herbicide containing Arylex™ active was recently approved in Ethiopia for use in teff. Pallas Super™ 320 WG herbicide combines Arylex and pyroxsulam to control annual grasses and key broadleaf weeds in teff. Pallas Super 320 is applied post emergence on teff at a use rate of 75g/ha, which is many times lower than other herbicide options currently available for teff.

Pallas Super 320 also gives farmers flexibility in application. It can be used during tillering, from BBCH 20 to BBCH 25, depending on the crop stage. This allows farmers to time the application to the needs of their operation and crop, while addressing weeds in the early stages of crop development when they pose the greatest competition to teff.

Teff field
A teff field in Ethiopia treated with Pallas Super™ 320 herbicide.
Teff field
A teff field in Ethiopia treated with Pallas Super™ 320 herbicide.

In field use in Ethiopia, Pallas Super 320 has demonstrated very good selectivity and crop safety. After application, farmers can grow most crops under normal rotation. With less weed competition, teff treated with Pallas Super 320 is better able to reach its yield potential.5

Gebre has been using Pallas Super 320 on his farm and has seen yield improvements. In one 40 x 50 meter area on his farm, teff yield more than doubled, from 150 kg to 350 kg after using Pallas Super 320. Gebre also appreciates that it’s easy to use, especially for a small farm. “I like the low use rate and the small pack size is important for small-scale farmers.”

Gebre applies the herbicide with a backpack sprayer. He also likes the convenience. “It’s a one-time application to control both grass and broadleaf weeds. It saves me money, time and resources.” He notes he can then spend more time doing things he enjoys.

For farmers growing teff, the addition of an effective, flexible herbicide option helps them grow more and frees them from significant field labor. For smallholder farmers this efficiency can translate into better profitability and opportunities to invest time in other economic, community and family activities. With herbicide solutions like Arylex active, both fields and farmers’ lives can be more productive.

Learn more about Arylex active

1 Petruzzello, Melissa. “Teff.” Encyclopedia Britannica, August 30, 2022.

2 Tesfagabir, Tewelde. “Teff, an Ancient Grain from Ethiopia, Takes Root on U.S. Plains.” Voice of America, March 30, 2022.

3 “Volume I Report on Area and Production of Major Crops.” Ethiopian Statistics Service, 2022.

4 Shugute Addisu, “Sequential Application of Herbicide Evaluation for Broad and Grass Weed Management in Tef (Eragrostis tef(Zucc.) Trotter)” International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR) 26, no. 2 (2016): 231–41.

5 Corteva Agriscience field trials. Data on file.

Pallas Super™ 320 WG herbicide is not registered for sale or use in all states or countries. Contact your local regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your area. Always read and follow label directions.