Kick-off autumn fieldwork with timely positive harvest management to prevent problems in this season’s crop carrying over until next season. Being in control of harvest timing ensures there is enough time to complete all fieldwork ahead of drilling autumn crops.
Efficient harvesting will be more important than ever to give sufficient time for the best pre-planting weed control and resolving any soil problems after the wettest winter in living memory for many. An effective pre-harvest spray programme of Round Up (glyphosate) is an essential part of preparing for next autumn. More consistent crop dryness and lack of green weed growth ensures the most effective straw and chaff chopping and spreading.
Don’t be tempted to spray too early, it doesn’t bring combining forward and can affect yield and grain quality. In oilseed rape, only apply glyphosate after moisture levels drop below 50%, typically when two thirds of seeds in the part of the canopy carrying most of the yield change from green to brown. Apart from anything else, this will minimise immature ‘red’ seeds in the sample.
The same 30% moisture level applies to pre-harvest spraying in cereals. This is reached when all the grains from the centre of the ear hold an indentation from a firm thumbnail press.
After such a difficult season, achieving the maximum possible yield is a top
priority. Heavily-waxed and uneven OSR, backward wheats, and thin, weedy spring crops will benefit most from careful treatment
Although, here is a statutory minimum interval from glyphosate spraying to combining of 14 days for OSR and seven days for cereals, the time taken for crops to dry down very much depends on the weather.
This means they should only be combined when they’re fit – which may be up to three weeks after spraying in some cases for oilseed rape.
The biggest challenge with glyphosate is getting it into the plant. Modern Roundup formulations stand out here for their ability to deal with heavily waxed cuticles, reliability under challenging conditions, and outstanding rainfastness. Medium-coarse sprays, together with water volumes, pressures and settings giving thorough canopy coverage and penetration are equally important, with applications early in the day useful in hot weather.”
Black-grass control does not start with the pre-emergence herbicide programme. Doing everything possible to reduce the weed population before you drill the crop is key, and it means making good management decisions right from the off. Click for our guide to managing black-grass from harvest to drilling, starting with six general principles.
Trials can provide a great source for ideas but putting them into practice commercially can be challenging. The Black-grass Task Force project aims to help translate the excellent trials work demonstrating how to control black-grass into field scale practices. This resource brings all the knowledge together, to showcase it and apply it to commercial fields and present the answers and the results all in one place.
In the Arable Farming / Bayer black-grass survey assessing the adoption of various control techniques, we asked growers to identify not only tactics they were using successfully, but also which things they were thinking about using in future.