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Arable ...from previous page

“The good news is that everyone in the survey was thinking about doing a number of cultural controls – and not just one thing,” summed up Mr Hunt.

Online resource As well as the latest Grass Weed Study, Monsanto has launched an online resource to help growers in the continued battle with grass weeds. Called ‘Grass Weed Action’ the new initiative aims to bring together

wide-ranging information on problem weeds including blackgrass, bromes, Italian ryegrass, wild oats and couch. “Grass Weed Action is about helping farmers and their advisers win the fight against grass weeds,” said Monsanto marketing manager, Maria Konovalova (left). “It uses the best available intelligence on problem

weeds and brings it together in one, convenient, well structured starting place,” she explained. “What it is not doing however is providing a blueprint or one size fits all solution, or replacing any local advice,” she added. Grass Weed Action contains: • Structured frameworks for tackling each problem weed • A knowledge hub for the latest weed understanding • A newsroom for up-to-date control advice • A network of industry links for extra information, guidance

and support A tracking tool for farm-to-farm benchmarking Ms Konovalova added that the site is to be made widely available to growers and advisers and that no registration system is required. “We also want to include additional information and advice from as many industry partners as possible and links to further sources of practical guidance and support.” Grass Weed Action can be accessed via: www.monsanto-ag. co.uk/grassweed-action/.

Five steps to black-grass success Weed scientist and herbicide resistance specialist Dr Stephen Moss (right) has launched a new initiative to help growers combat black-grass on their farms. The ‘5 For 5 to Beat Black-grass’ campaign sets about highlighting five control strategies that growers can implement over a five year period. Speaking at a briefing hosted by Monsanto, Dr Moss said that the five year period was critical in terms of reducing levels of black-grass seed in the soil profile. “It takes five years to destroy seed in the seedbank, provided you stop new seeds coming in. One year is not enough to make an impact on black-grass seed numbers, however they can be dramatically reduced given sufficient time,” he explained. Dr Moss’ top tips to beat black-grass over five years are as follows:

3. Sowing date

1. Stop weed seed shedding

5. Herbicides

• •

Patch spraying – record and destroy patches in early June Roguing – remove heading plants by mid-June Crop destruct – early harvest for AD? Minimise seed spread – in crop seed, straw, combines, balers, cultivators and manure Novel methods – eg seed capture/destruction at harvest. ‘Hoovering’ up seeds from surface? Late chemical sprays to reduce seed viability?

2. Cultivation strategy

• • • • •

Opportunistic (rotational) ploughing – slower speeds will help create better inversion Post-harvest stubble cultivations – what’s best? Direct drilling/strip tillage Minimum tillage before sowing spring crops Inter-row hoeing/harrowing

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Delayed autumn drilling of wheat – mid-October + (also better herbicide efficacy) Spring sowing – better results if repeated two or three times Fallow – ideally more than two years Grass ley breaks – the longer the better Crop rotation – mixture of crops/sowing dates

4. Increase crop competition

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Crops (eg barley more competitive than wheat) Competitive varieties High seed rates (but increased lodging risk) Narrow rows (trash issues make this difficult) Drainage (helps crops grow better) Cover crops (indirect effects much more significant than direct effects)

Use glyphosate pre-sowing to kill weeds effectively Rational pre-emergence herbicide use Less dependence on high risk post-em herbicides Reassessing value of older actives (eg clodinafop) Use alternative modes of action in non-cereal crops Correct timing and application technique Monitor impact of herbicide resistance

Concluding, Dr Moss said that while there was nothing new in the advice outlined in the new initiative, all of it was needed to get on top of black-grass. Growers and agronomists will have to show discipline and commitment to succeed, he added. “It’s also essential to adhere to the three ‘Rs’: Recording, Reviewing and Revising,” he said. “Record the amount of black-grass and its location, on every individual field annually. “Review progress during the past year and revise the plan for each field if necessary,” stressed Dr Moss.

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