Black-grass control does not start with pre-emergence herbicide programme. Doing everything possible to reduce the weed population before you drill a crop is key, and it means making good management decisions right from the off. Below is our guide to managing black-grass from harvest to drilling, starting with six general principles.
- Don’t plan on the back of last season – the right decision depends on the conditions in the field. But always factor in previous seasons' cultivations to understand the black-grass seedbank.
- Delayed drilling of winter wheat is a vital tool to control black-grass – cultivation needs to maximise the possible drilling window.
- Cultivation and establishment needs to create conditions for healthy, vigorous crops that can compete with black-grass. There is often a compromise between the ideal drilling date for early vigour and missing the main autumn flush of black-grass.
- Spring cropping is a reliable back-up option when autumn establishment is not possible. Cover crops can be a useful tool to establish spring crops and improve soil but the decision to use them needs to be made well in advance.
- Disturbing soil can prompt black-grass germination so establishment of any crop should be lower disturbance than any preceding cultivation.
- Good soil condition ensures good establishment and maximises crop competitiveness. It also contributes to good efficacy of pre-emergence herbicides.