A five year rotational study by agronomy firm Agrovista at Lamport near Northampton is aiming to produce practical recommendations to control highly resistant black-grass in combinable crop rotations.
Project Lamport has achieved ‘promising results so far’, says the firm. At the start of the project the site had black-grass populations of around 2,000 heads/sq.m, some of which were highly resistant to herbicides.
Now in its second year, the Agrovista team is experimenting with combinable crop rotations in an attempt to get on top of the weed, incorporating autumn-sown cover crops, winter and spring crops, catch crops and fallow in the rotation.
The project is taking a different approach to combat black-grass and, instead of trying to smother the weed, is encouraging it to grow with the cover crop, overwinter.
A restricted herbicide programme consisting of low rates of pendimethalin, flufenacet and DFF will be used over the course of the project.
In the final year of Project Lamport all rotations will be in winter wheat. The success of each approach will be based on the final level of black-grass control and economic return.
When drilling the spring crop into cover crops, Agrovista is aiming for minimal soil disturbance to reduce and if possible prevent black-grass germination and competition with the crop.
Farmers Guardian went to the Lamport site to find out more about the project from national trials co-ordinator Niall Atkinson, and see how spring drilling was progressing.