Sterile brome was considered the second most problematic grass-weed in the UK, according to a recent survey, funded by AHDB and conducted by ADAS, with black-grass claiming the number one spot.
About 200 farmers and agronomists completed the brome survey this summer – making it the first major survey of UK brome since 1989.
Fifty-nine per cent of farmers claimed brome populations had risen on their farm over the past 10 years and most believe the main driver has been the move towards minimum tillage.
Speaking at the 2017 AHDB Agronomists’ Conference, ADAS weed researcher Laura Davies said: “Interestingly a lot of people are moving towards minimum tillage to help control black-grass, which is, in some cases, increasing the level of great brome and sterile brome.”
Also, farmers are moving away from certain actives which black-grass shows resistance to, which is affecting brome populations, she added.
While herbicide resistance in worldwide brome populations has been detected, most notably in sterile brome in France and Germany, no resistant populations have officially been reported in the UK.
However, 59 survey respondents cited resistance as a reason for poor brome control, with ALS chemistry said to be providing the poorest control by many farmers.
Miss Davies said: “This resistance has not been verified and a whole range of other reasons could have been behind the lack of control.”
In 2017, 70 brome samples were used in herbicide sensitivity screens. The results found variation in brome control from ALS herbicides, both within and between species. Generally, meadow, soft and rye brome were controlled more easily than sterile, barren and great brome.
In response to the survey results, Miss Davies said: “The current advice remains unchanged – to ensure good control and to minimise resistance risks; full label rates should be used in conjunction with cultural control options.”