Confronting challenge of black-grass in winter wheat made easier by open autumn weather conditions
The open autumn is helping farmers face the challenge of controlling grass weeds, especially black-grass, in winter wheat.
Careful choice of herbicide programmes and timing this autumn can significantly help bring populations under control, said Dow AgroSciences South West business manager Tom Chillcott.
He explained: "The legacy of the 2013 harvest season has been a massive burden of grassweeds, especially black-grass. Many treatments were not applied last season, allowing grass weeds to thrive. Now conditions are moving in farmers' favour."
When it came to black-grass, the good news was that dormancy was low and the open autumn had allowed many farmers to reap the benefits of stale seedbeds to burn off early flushes of the weed. Crops were being drilled into good seedbeds suited to effective early control from pre-emergence treatments.
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"All this adds up to an ideal season in which to optimise the performance of the post-emergence herbicides," said Mr Chillcott. "Autumn applications are proven to be the most effective at controlling black-grass and other grass weeds. In our trials the levels of control are far higher from autumn treatments compared to spring applications.
"Given the open autumn, conditions are ideal for application of post-emergence treatments such as UNITE. Proved over three seasons of use, it provides both contact and residual action against key grass weeds and an extensive range of broad-leafed weeds."
UNITE controls black-grass, wild oats, rye grasses, bromes, silky bent and annual meadow grass, plus pansy, speedwell, cranesbill, cleavers, charlock, volunteer oilseed rape, volunteer beans and groundsel.