By David Ellerton
Some growers with extreme grassweed infestations may be questioning the sustainability of growing crops at all.
Their problems are often the direct result of maintaining min-till plus early drilling regimes in restricted rotations with over-reliance on a limited range of high resistance-risk herbicides applied late on large over-wintered weeds.
If they persist with this strategy, they are doomed to failure because the grassweed burden will continue to build.
Instead, that pressure can be eased by adopting integrated crop management, targeting high-risk fields with combinations of ploughing, stale seed-beds and later drilling, and introducing sensible rotations that include autumn and spring break crops.
Along with earlier use of herbicides with different modes of action followed by targeted late post-emergence products, this approach will optimise the outlay and cut the cost per tonne of production – the key profitability driver.
But to succeed, it needs planning, thought and flexibility.
It all boils down to whether the grower and/or adviser is prepared to put in the necessary time and effort.
If not, then taking the easy way out and not cropping may be the only option left.
Ben says: “Extreme but true. Look after the land and it will look after you. Cultural control in the form of rotation and timing is crucial to avoid an uncontrollable situation.”
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