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Making the most of moderate black-grass dormancy

Dormancy in black-grass is moderate this autumn, providing a good opportunity to utilise stale seedbeds for black-grass control, says Adas.


Teresa   Rush

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Teresa   Rush
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The prediction is based on assessment of 24 black-grass seed samples collected this summer.

 

Black-grass dormancy is affected by weather conditions during maturation (June 11 to June 30) and this year the mean temperature during this period was slightly cooler than the long-term mean.

 

According to Adas senior researcher Sarah Cook, this means average dormancy is moderate (mean germination 33%) although this can vary due to local conditions; however no obvious regional differences were seen in 2015 samples.

 

What do these dormancy results mean?

 

Dr Cook says: “The prediction this year is that black-grass germination from seed shed this season will neither be very rapid or very slow where moisture is not limiting.

 

“The recent wet weather means there are already excellent opportunities for stale seedbeds and spraying off emerged plants prior to drilling, even more so where drilling is delayed.”

 


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Key action points:

Before drilling

 

  • Spray off any black-grass that does emerge before drilling – there will be opportunities this year, but a little patience may be required

 

  • Where there are high black-grass populations, consider burying weed problems by ploughing. However, after high levels of control in the current crop, avoid ploughing-up more seeds than you bury

 

 

At drilling

 

  • Aim to establish a competitive crop, perhaps by improving the seedbed or using a higher seed rate

 

  • Avoid cloddy seedbeds to maximise herbicide performance and reduce risk of late emerging black-grass (from the clods)

 

  • Do not reduce crop seed rates where high populations of black-grass are expected

 

  • Do not drill too early

 

Herbicide strategies

 

  • Use a robust pre-emergence herbicide with a residual component such as Crystal + Hurricane (flufenacet+pendimethalin+DFF) or Liberator + Stomp Aqua (flufenacet+DFF+pendimethalin)

 

  • Post-emergence sprays will need a residual element to cover some late emerging plants especially where drilling has not been delayed

 

Source: ADAS

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