In August, Bayer’s team of Crop Doctor experts will visit two farms to discuss how to get next season’s crops off to the best start.
At Russell McKenzie’s farm in Bedfordshire, cultivations expert Philip Wright will be giving advice about how to best prepare seedbeds and drilling strategies to ensure good establishment without kicking black-grass into life, while Bayer’s Darren Adkins will cover handling and drilling treated seed, and the benefits of using seed treatments for early pest and disease control, and how it helps ease workload in a busy time.
At the second farm, David Felce and Colin Lloyd of Agrii will provide tips on setting up sprayers effectively for pre-emergence spraying, and will discuss control of black-grass through the rotation.
To get involved and ask questions of our Crop Doctor experts, tweet the @Bayer4CropsUK account with the hashtag #CropDoctor, or email email@example.com. Coverage of the day will be through the @Bayer4CropsUK and @DrBlackgrass twitter accounts, and via Farmers Weekly.
But before then, combines are already rolling across the country and growers will be making crucial decisions about stubble management that can have a big impact on weed numbers in the subsequent crop.
In the period between harvest and drilling, the aim is not only to produce a good quality seedbed but also reduce viable weed seed numbers in the germination zone down to low enough levels for selective herbicides to finish the job. It is also a chance to sort out any compaction or drainage issues in the soil. How to achieve this is more complicated – weather conditions, weed spectrum and available machinery all affect what happens on each farm. Here’s a list of some things to consider:
For more information please read 'weed control - Devil's in the detail'
Direct mortality depends on weather conditions so having flexibility is essential to use it as a management tool. A further complication is from other grass-weeds – particularly bromes. Sterile and Great Brome germinate in the dark and so cultivation soon after harvest will encourage germination. However Meadow, Rye & Soft brome require light to ripen on the soil surface before they will germinate and so cultivations need to be delayed for one month if trying to stimulate germination prior to crop establishment. Choosing the best approach has to be done field-by-field looking at weed spectrum and soil condition.
The Crop Doctor tour takes place on 23 August but in the meantime, look out for videos
from soil and cultivation specialist Philip Wright about the pros and cons of different types of drills to establish winter cereals. And, for anyone with the time to get ahead of the game, check out videos from 2016 by spray application specialist David Felce – he gives a run-down of the how to set up the sprayer for autumn.