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Weed Management

Bayer Crop Science

Optimising herbicide programs for effective autumn weed control in wheat and barley crops

Article overview

The busy weeks in autumn when cereal crops are drilled and treated with pre-em herbicides have a huge impact on yield potential at harvest. High weed populations can cause yield losses and in the worst cases mean the field is redrilled in spring. Thankfully, there are numerous cultural and chemical controls that can be stacked together to achieve high-levels of control. Choosing the best programme depends on the specific situation on farm, read the guide below for more information to inform your decisions.

Cultural Controls for Weed Management

“Good cultural controls set the stage for the pre-em programme by reducing the number of weeds germinating in the crop. Fewer weeds mean that each plant is exposed to the optimum dose of active, meaning there is less pressure on the pre-em layer of herbicides,” says Bayer’s Matt Siggs.

Stale seedbeds, delayed drilling date and seed rates are the three key cultural controls variable ahead of autumn drilling. Ideally, there should be a higher level of soil disturbance in the top couple of inches when creating the stale seedbed compared to the final drilling pass. This will help to stimulate a good level of weed germination and so reduce the levels that germinate at the same time as the crop.

Delaying drilling into mid-October is a proven tactic to improve black-grass control, and to a slightly lesser extent when tackling ryegrass; however, autumn 2019 still looms in some farmers’ minds with the fear of a large area going undrilled. Read our delayed drilling guide for more information.

“The main flush of black-grass and ryegrass tend to be in late September and into early October, so for every week after the 1st October that you drill you are reducing the weed population pressure in the crop.”

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