LOW BLACKGRASS dormancy means conditions are ideal for stale seedbeds this autumn, according to Frontier Agriculture.

With 59% of blackgrass germinating after two weeks (in Rothamsted trials), growers have the best opportunity in five years to use stale seedbeds or stubble treatment, said the firm’s Bob Mills.

Most soils also have sufficient moisture in the upper layers to ensure rapid germination, he said.

“Our trials and experience show that well managed stale seedbed programmes can reduce the weed seed burden by 50% or more, making them well worth the effort.”

Effective stale seedbeds should see a strong initial flush of blackgrass in 10-15 days, at which stage he recommends spraying off with Roundup Gold (glyphosate), before final seedbed cultivation.

Growers with significant blackgrass problems should consider waiting for an extra two weeks after the first flush to treat any secondary weed growth, he said.

“Controlling bad blackgrass in-crop can easily cost you the equivalent of a tonne of wheat. Either that or cost you at least that tonne for failing to control it.

“This has to put a major question mark over the value of bringing forward your drilling by a couple of weeks,” he concluded.