Ignoring black-grass will leave you and your neighbours with a problem

Black-grass is present in many fields across the country and it is a grass weed that cannot be ignored. When left uncontrolled the weed can take over and destroy crops.

If you fail to take action in your own fields, the grass weed may spread and affect your neighbours’ crops also.

At present, herbicides cannot fully control the invasive weed.

The only herbicide which offers full control of black-grass is glyphosate and it is common practice in the UK to apply glyphosate to infected areas of winter wheat fields.

This results in the total destruction of the cereal crop, but the weed is such a problem when uncontrolled that the value of this practice far outweighs the loss of the area of the crop that has been destroyed.

Where black-grass is refined to a small area of a field, farmers may choose to pull the weed.

Plan ahead

Once sprayed off or pulled farmers should begin planning for next season to keep the weed under control.

Ideally a spring crop should be planted. According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK, planting a spring crop can reduce the incidence of the weed by 88%.

If a spring crop cannot be planted, autumn drilling should be delayed for as long as possible. It is also important to establish a competitive crop to make it difficult for the grass weed to survive.

Ploughing

Ploughing is a major tool used to control black-grass. It will significantly reduce infection levels. According to the AHDB, black-grass infection levels may be reduced by 69% when land is ploughed.

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