Tillage farmers would be foolish to say they were going to eradicate the problem of weed grasses in cereal crops, a zero tolerance approach is more important, said Johnny Greene.
Greene who is a tillage and beef farmer from Kildare in Athy, spoke about how he has dealt problem grass weeds on his farm at the Teagasc National Crops Forum in Kildare recently.
According to Greene, grass weeds particularly Meadow Grass, have become increasingly noticeable on his farm since a move to minimum cultivation techniques was made.
Farmers must be aware of the grass weed problems in their tillage crops before they can deal with them properly.
According to Greene there is never one solution to a grass weed problem and a little bit of common sense goes a long way in making the problem easier.
The Athy based farmer added that his farm has experienced problems with Black Grass over the years, and cited seed as the source of this problem.
However, the Kildare farmer took drastic action to reduce the impact of this problem weed on his farm two years ago.
“When I saw Black Grass in a field of wheat I ensiled that crop within two days, then I immediately put the field back into a ley.
“There was one Black Grass seed head present in this field this year, so hopefully this will be the end of the problem.”
Greene added, that another effective method of reducing Black Grass is to plough to a depth of 8-9 inches to bury the problem and to resist the urge to plough until a period of 5-6 years have lapsed.
He has also had problems with Meadow Grass over the past number of years, but has found that increasing the fertility of the soil has reduced this problem greatly.
“We had a problem with Meadow Grass for a period and it came in strong with minimum cultivation, we found that it was the hungrier fields that this weed was occurring,” he said.
Greene also offered advice on dealing with Sterile Broom.
“If you see a little speck of broom in a crop of winter barley do not grow winter barley in this field.”
He also said that he uses herbicides around the head lands of his fields to avoid the encroachment of this week into his fields.
He also recommended only emptying the stone trap of the combine on the headlands, as this will reduce the number of grass weeds present in the middle of the field.