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Thread: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

  1. #1
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    Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    Black-grass is now appearing in crops. Do you thin there is more or less than last year?

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    Senior Member Badshot's Avatar
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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    More, and a lot is spring germinated that will be near impossible to rogue
    If in doubt get a bigger hammer

  3. #3
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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    I would say my personal little area is less plagued by it than last year. In some cases I have not had to resort to Atlantis or similar at all, it has gone down to much lower levels, but the hot spots remain. Pre-emergence chemistry still seems to be doing a reasonable job, although not everyone is that keen on spraying something expensive when the weeds aren't even visible.

    However, if I drive to the edge of my area, in the more mainstream arable areas, boy is there plenty of it about. Even dairy farms have got fields riddled with it, amusingly lots of it in winter barley which is supposed to be a wonder crop for stopping it.

    As far as I can see, black grass is gaining the upper hand for the following reasons:

    = Poor rotations- WW/OSR/WW type logic. Even worse is continuous wheat which I loathe anyway. I am dubious about the value of OSR for controlling serious black grass, for starters, the period between harvest and drilling is necessarily limited. Second, graminicides and kerb etc are all well and good but black grass happily germinates virtually all year round I don't care what anyone says. I have seen OSR crops where you assume there is no BG because the crop is so tall you can't see it. Walk through it though and merry christmas it is there below the canopy waiting for the nearest chaff spreader.

    = Minimum tillage, or rather, 'maximum' tillage. If I had a quid for every sumo or top down I have seen working to such a depth that it appears to rival a plough for the volume of dirt moved, I'd be loaded. Must be saving a fortune not ploughing and power harrowing farmer, only instead of turning the dirt over, you basically randomly mix all the dirt and black grass seeds through a lovely 6-12 inch layer so it emerges all year round. Heaven knows either, how pre-emergence chemistry is supposed to work any sense with heaps of trash and clods about but then apparently none of us need one of those seed bed things anymore, wheat grows in it anyways? Minimum tillage- the invention of the 60/tonne wheat market. Never did anything for yields, but sure as heck does something for black grass.

    = All encompassing belief in the much fabled Atlantis. A mighty product. I was not at the vanguard of agronomy when it came along. It must have been quite something to see it work, another cure all ills in a can. No doubt various people tried it at half rate to save money or something, probably worked well, too. In fact, it must have been a revelation even to eclipse the venerable Topik. Which unfortunately it is now following into oblivion. Although of course Atlantis will of course still be useful as a rather effective wheat growth regulator whereas Topik isn't.


    I suppose I am lucky though that we have a get out of jail card of sorts because we can always grow maize or grass it down. What you would do in the east, where no such market exists for them, is anyones guess.

    I'm having good results with growing spring beans. Down here we are a bit limited with winter spray days so November and December are generally no fly zones, so I'm stuck with spring beans, and of course we can let stubbles green pup and zap them with glyphosate. At least whilst that still works.

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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    It's not a big problem so far in North East England edit! Thankfully

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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    generally a lot lower levels but A14 etc as bad as ever

  6. #6
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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    lots more round my area. west,north yorkshire

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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    For those of you who are not aware, my neighbour Chris Richardson is hosting a Black Grass control open day on Aslackby Fen, NG34 0LE on the Thursday 7th July (tomorrow). From what I've seen the results are very promising. I believe there is an article on the subject in a recent Farmer's Weekly.

  8. #8
    Member fieldmarshall's Avatar
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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    iv seen a lot of it this year,

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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    Looking over hedges in Essex (yes there are some hedges) some farms have massive problems and some look worse than last year. Rye grass seems to be a problem as well, creeping out of the headlands.

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    Re: Are black-grass levels higher or lower than last year?

    Grass weed control per se this year I would say has been far less successful than previous years. The mild winter allowed grass weeds to grow untouched for months, and when we finally managed to get out there in March they were pretty big. Anyone who did not manage to get any autumn residual on paid the price dearly, I do not understand why folk even contemplate drilling anything in the autumn without at least a whack of PDM and DFF- the resultant mass of chickweed, charlock and speedwells I saw in a few fields (thankfully not ones I look after!) first thing in February was enough to write a BASIS project about.

    I think the time has come for a whole-scale switch back to ploughing myself. Min-till has created a monster problem in some areas and it is noticeable that the people who kept their ploughs have got a far far smaller issue with blackgrass and brome than most. With a half decent autumn residual stack of chemistry now costing more than ploughing on a per acre basis, I think the people with a real issue need to big the bullet and buy some metal instead of working out of a can.

    Also, the claims that maize is the answer to blackgrass control is a lie. I have fields where I have confirmed resistance to Atlantis, and sure enough, that blackgrass is resistant to both foramsulfuron and nicosulfuron SUs which are chemical cousins to the actives in Atlantis. All we do now is pre-emerge the stuff and then pray the maize outruns and gets taller than it.

    About time some people bought a herd of cows and grew grass I would think.

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