Focus on Soil Management for Black-Grass Control
Appropriate soil management can play a major part in controlling your black-grass before it controls you, growers and agronomists were advised at the latest national Soil & Water Management Centre improvement event in Lincolnshire.
Agrii technical manager, David Langton warned that a strictly limited chemical arsenal, growing weed resistance and increasing climatic uncertainty make it vital to manage soils and tillage as effectively as possible to minimise the pressure on in-crop herbicides.
Armed with latest results from the company’s long-term system trials on fields with serious multiple herbicide resistance near Huntingdon, he highlighted cultivation flexibility, multiple stale seedbeds and delayed drilling as particular opportunities for tackling problem fields.
“In our latest trials with Lemken, ploughing stood out as the best way of reducing black-grass in a single season, giving us nearly 100% control in our 2010/11 wheat through effective seed burial. Indeed, with 100 black-grass ears/m2 taking almost exactly 1t/ha off wheat yields, we recorded a net benefit of £100/ha over our shallow min till regimes after accounting for the extra £45/ha cost.
“It’s important to stress, though, that ploughing needs to consistently bury the seed below 3” in the profile. And ploughing two years in a row can lead to greater problems by bringing up non-dormant black-grass seed buried the previous year”
Where rotational ploughing is not a viable option, extensive studies at Agrii farm trial sites with particular grass weed problems show some reduced tillage regimes can be almost as effective in controlling black-grass, while generating higher margins over establishment and chemical costs; providing they are accompanied by effective stale seedbeds.
“If we are to rise to a black-grass challenge which is just as great for many today as it was before the advent of Atlantis, we really need to know our weed,” David Langton concluded. “As well as its resistance status, we should identify where it is both in the field and in the soil profile. That way we can utilise the tillage and other soil management tools at our disposal in the most cost-effective, integrated control approaches.”
Throws Farm Preview
This year the Throws Farm Spring Event will be held on Thursday 21st Feb. The meeting will feature interactive discussions around a number of topical subjects including late drilled crops and managing nitrogen inputs. We will also give you an update on our blackgrass establishment work at Stow Longa. Please speak to your agronomist if you would like to attend. We look forward to seeing you on the 21st.
Leadenham R&D Site Preview
The Leadenham Spring Event will be held at Glebe Farm on Wednesday 10th April 2013. This spring we shall be looking at how we can fulfil crop potential after such a difficult winter. We will also look at how we can make the most of spring cropping options as well as hearing the latest news and views on commodity markets. For any further information please contact your local agronomist. We look forward to seeing you there!
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