Using your cropping to help control Black-grass
Manipulating the crop you’re growing to help control black-grass is another building block towards effective black-grass management. By delaying drilling, choosing a more competitive variety and /or increasing seed rates, you can make it harder for black-grass to grow and reproduce
5 reasons how your crop can help control black-grass
- Consider fallowing your worst field. Fallowing for 1 or 2 years can have a dramatic impact upon black-grass populations, as long as the black-grass is not allowed to set seed.
- Introduce spring crops into your rotation. A 1 or 2 year break into spring cropping is a very effective way of reducing black-grass populations. Incorporate multiple stale seedbeds between crops and make sure you select a competitive spring crop
- Delay drilling your winter crops. Delaying drilling until the middle of October gives more opportunities for stale seedbeds and means that you are avoiding peak germination periods of black-grass
- Drill using higher seed rates. Crop competition is important for black-grass control, higher seed rates give black-grass plants less room to germinate and tiller
- Grow more competitive varieties. Some cultivars are more competitive in the autumn than others, and establish quicker giving black-grass less room to germinate and tiller
Which spring crops are best for black-grass control?
Answers to a selection of questions on spring cropping: Which spring crops are most competitive against black-grass? Which spring crops are easiest to grow when trying to reduce black-grass populations? Which spring crops are most likely to be profitable when you have black-grass in the rotation? What plant populations should you target for a spring crop drilled to help against black-grass? What herbicide options do you have for controlling black-grass in spring crops?
What to consider before growing a spring crop?
Where possible, spring cropping is one of the most effective ways of reducing black-grass populations in a rotation. Most black-grass will germinate in the autumn or winter period meaning that growers have good opportunities to take out black-grass before the crop is drilled.
Ward et al. (2012) presented at the Southern Britain Crop Protection Conference their findings on drill timings.