Choice of crop is an important building block of effective weed control. Once a good understanding of weed populations is in place, following crops can be planned with black-grass control in mind. When planning crop rotation, consider the following factors:
Having a robust crop rotation in place will improve nutrient cycling and soil condition. This will subsequently create a better seed bed for crop establishment and allow better water uptake and drainage. Cover crops can be useful for this by adding organic matter, drawing moisture from deep soils and improving soil structure. This will give better tilth which will promote good crop establishment, so the crop can outcompete weeds.
By growing a range of crops over a number of seasons you have the opportunity to adopt different cultivation timing and methods. This can interrupt the life cycle of black-grass and prevent populations becoming persistent.
Growing a broader range of crops will mean there is less strain on one herbicide type. This can help limit the development of herbicide-resistant weeds and provide better chemical control season to season.
By having both winter and spring drilled crops, risk can be spread, time and labour will be under less pressure, and more concentration can be offered to crops at vital stages throughout the season. It will also mean there is greater flexibility when waiting for the right drilling or spray conditions.
Planning your crop rotations to help manage black-grass? This article provides some helpful guidance on which crops to consider and why.
Read our top five tips to help eliminate black-grass using cultural controls