Sakura off patent

26 November 2023 by
Seed Terminator, Kelly Ingram

It happened...

Sakura came off patent and it halved in price.

We knew it would come down in price, but halving in price has surprised many of us. The prices that I’ve heard so far is about $30/ha for Sakura from Bayer, and as low as $22/ha from generic companies.

And it’s only November!

This is likely to be just the start of reductions in cost of Sakura with it being likely to reduce even further in the coming years. I won’t guess where it will end up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it halved again in the next couple of years.

Our low rainfall farmers have been waiting for this day, as the high cost of Sakura has been a little beyond their reach for broad scale use for their level of production.

What do we do with this information?

  • A. Pin our ears back and switch to Sakura alone for 100% of the wheat program, year after year.
  • B. Use Sakura over the entire wheat program, mixed with trifluralin.
  • C. Option B. plus add some harvest weed seed control and throw in some extra crop competition for good measure.

Let’s break these down.

Option A. - we are likely to break Sakura in about 2 to 8 years depending on your starting resistance level and how often you grow wheat. Some growers already have developing Sakura resistance, and two more shots of Sakura alone will go close to pushing it over the edge.

Regardless of your resistance status and history, Sakura alone isn’t a great idea for two reasons;

1. Sakura needs decent soil moisture to get it going. Sakura plus trifluralin performs for a range of soil moisture conditions. Trifluralin is good in half wet soil and can prop up Sakura until a decent drop of rain comes along.

2. Mixing two herbicides from different groups together reduces the risk of resistance for both of them.

Option B. – Many growers already commonly mix Sakura with another pre-em herbicide, with trifluralin being the most common mixing partner, although Avadex has also proven to be a great mix in trials.


This has likely kept a lid on resistance, and kept a lid on your ryegrass seedbank because these mixes have proven to be highly efficacious.

Low rainfall growers, listen up! I know that you are hard wired to keep costs down, that’s how you survive in the low rainfall region.


This time I want you to spend a few more bucks each year to give you both the best weed control in the short term, and keep this wonderful herbicide working for as long as you can. Mix it with trifluralin. Even if you can only bring yourself to add a litre of treflan, do that. 1.5 to 2L/ha will be better (depending on the safety of your seeding system), just make sure you use the mix.

We also know that there’s a lot of wheat on wheat in the low rainfall region. Sakura on Sakura is not very diverse. It won’t last long. Sakura + Treflan followed by Sakura + Treflan also lacks diversity, but it’s going to last a lot longer than Sakura alone. I’d rather see you use Sakura + Treflan every year than Sakura one year and Treflan the next.

I know you’re going to jump on the Sakura bandwagon, and you’re going to love it, make it last.

Option C. – If you want this cheap herbicide option to last for a long time, the trick is to keep throwing the kitchen sink at it. Competitive crops, harvest weed seed control, mixing herbicides, and rotating to other herbicide groups. Etc. etc.

We know this works, we’ve got growers who’ve been doing it for 20 years, and they have the confidence to keep continuous cropping indefinitely.

An option from left field

Sakura is tolerated by wheat. You don’t need to scrape the treated soil away from the seed like we do with trifluralin and other herbicides. If you put wheat seed bang in the middle of some Sakura treated soil, it will grow.

This gives us the option of zero row spacing, a cheap way to get some extra crop competition.

This option is suited to loamy or heavier soil that isn’t prone to water repellence.

All you need to do is set up your bar so you can spray a bit of wheat seed, perhaps 20 to 30% of your seed, in front of your bar as you seed. You can’t use trifluralin in the mix with this option as it will take out the wheat in the inter row, but high-level crop competition is the next best thing to a herbicide mix. Some would argue it’s even better.


We’re lucky that we have a herbicide that is still working well for most grower as it comes off patent, let’s make the most of it.

The Terminator Agronomist
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Please note this advice is general in nature and not based on your specific circumstances.

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