Use cultivations to help control your black-grass
Cultivations can be an excellent opportunity to control black-grass before you put the crop in the ground. Each black-grass plant that you can stop germinating in your crop is one less that you have to control later on, starting populations can have a big effect on the overall success of any integrated black-grass management programme.
5 ways that Cultivations can help you to control black-grass
- Consider ploughing to bury seeds outside of the germination zone. Plough seed down following a big seed shed in crop, then leave the seed there for 3-5 years
- Create multiple stale seedbeds and spray off germinating black-grass with glyphosate. This reduces the numbers of black-grass plants which will germinate in your crop
- Ensure even drainage across your fields. Leaving crops in waterlogged soils can reduce their competition and give black-grass more space to germinate and tiller
- Establish a good seedbed. Creating a good, firm, trash free seedbed helps pre-emergence chemistry create even coverage, clods shade patches from the spray and allow black-grass to germinate
- Roll after drilling. This will encourage black-grass to germinate quickly after drilling, when pre-emergence herbicides are at their most active
Appropriate Ploughing reduces black-grass
Farming 800 acres of combinable crops, Yorkshire farmer Andrew Wilkin has seen black-grass populations rocket in the last two years. However, swift action to introduce appropriate ploughing and a robust herbicide programme has reduced populations from 1,500 plants/m2 to just 15 plants/m2.
Straw rake and roll
Using a straw rake and roll makes stale seedbeds a realistic option for reducing black-grass numbers on heavy land, say independent agronomists J K Senior and Sons.
Cultural and Chemical combination key this year
Ploughing, increased seed rates and timely herbicide applications were the most effective control measures in 2014 black-grass trials, Bayer CropScience has revealed in a recent study.