Black-grass Hub2018-12-04T11:14:12+00:00

Black-grass Hub

The Black-grass Hub returns to CropTec in 2018 with a focus on the link between soil health and weed control.

Visitors to the Hub can hear from fellow farmers and soil specialists about how improving soil quality can boost black-grass control.

“Black-grass is still one of the biggest problems for many farmers,” says Bayer’s Ben Coombs. “We have always encouraged farmers to complement herbicides with cultural controls to maximise control. And, I think farmers have done a good job with techniques like late-drilling, low disturbance drills and spring cropping.”

According to Mr Coombs the next step is soil health because soil quality influences so many things that are important for weed control. Incremental improvements in soil quality can accumulate into a real difference in black-grass control.

“Compaction and poor drainage are known to favour black-grass rather than wheat whereas, better quality soil will promote crop vigour to outcompete black-grass. Better soil condition can also give more flexibility with crop choice and drilling date which is invaluable in the fight against black-grass to give just a couple of examples.”

Improving soil health is a long-term project and all farms will be in a unique situation. But no matter what the situation, visitors to the Hub will be able to pick up useful ideas to enhance black-grass control and soil.  Throughout the event, experts from Bayer will be on hand to discuss all aspects of soil and black-grass control as well as other aspects of agronomy that are a concern on farm.

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Day one speakers

11.00-11.15am Agronomy & herbicide advice

Ben Giles, Commercial Technical Manager, Bayer and
Darren Adkins, Commercial Technical Manager, Bayer

Advice from Bayer on to control black-grass in spring 2019 and beyond by getting the maximum results from herbicides.
1.00-1.15pm Soil management options to assist in black-grass management

Richard (Dick) Godwin, Visiting Professor, Harper Adams University

Currently the weed control of black-grass (slender foxtail), a weed of poorly drained clay soils, is giving concern as herbicide control and the timing of spray applications become more difficult. Tillage/drainage related activities could help by:

  1. Delaying the crop establishment operation to give additional time for further herbicide application,
  2. Burying the surface weed seeds with a mould board plough, ensuring that the plough skimmers are set correctly to place all seeds and residues in the furrow bottom. Followed by shallower tillage practices in subsequent years to reduce the risk of returning the weed seeds to the surface.
  3. Considering the adoption of low cost drainage options, such as mole ploughing directly into an open field ditch or into deeper “mole mains” to improve drainage. This solution has merit with short-term land rental, where neither the landlord nor tenant wishes to invest in full cost drainage work.
2.50-3.05pm Beating black-grass

Tom Jewers, Suffolk Farmer and Contractor

Tom will be discussing the strategies employed on the farm to stay ahead of black-grass. A growers perspective from beating black-grass in East Anglia.

Day two speakers

11.00-11.15am Digitalising what you know to boost your ability to control black-grass

Nicholas Strelczuk, Precision Technology Specialist, Hutchinsons

When trying to determine the appropriate seed rate, it is important to take into account many factors like the condition of the seedbed along with weed and pest burdens and not just rely on the soil type. Omnia allows you to have a different map for soil type, weed pressure, seedbed condition and slug pressure and these are combined and analysed using Multi-Dimensional Analysis to create a new hybrid “pattern” that reflects all of the map layers used.

Omnia then does a stage further and uses crop specific algorithms to determine the optimum seed rate for each area of the field, which is based on the drilling date, target plant population and the data that is in map layers.

1.00-1.15pm My direct drilling system and its effect on black-grass levels on heavy land, experiences so far

David Lord, Essex Farmer

The family business is mainly arable with predominantly London clay soil types. Our traditional winter cropping rotation was starting to let in too much black-grass due to heavy reliance on a dwindling amount of useful herbicides. Our family took the decision in 2014 to move to an ultra-low disturbance drilling system to combat the perfect storm of increased black-grass pressure, a labour shortage and rocketing fixed costs.
2.50-3.05pm Agronomy & herbicide advice

Ben Giles, Commercial Technical Manager, Bayer and
Darren Adkins, Commercial Technical Manager, Bayer

Advice from Bayer on to control black-grass in spring 2019 and beyond by getting the maximum results from herbicides.

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