13 August 1999

Dont plough those stale seed-beds

CULTIVATIONS are the first step in blackgrass control. But ploughing out a stale seed-bed is a big mistake, says UAPs Brin Hughes.

"Theres a common misconception that you can simply plough-in a stale seed-bed. But the blackgrass resets and comes up again." Such weeds, emerging from depth, are virtually impossible to tackle post-emergence, he warns.

A much better policy is to cultivate, possibly with a subsoiler, as close as possible behind the combine. Then the stubble is allowed to green up for five weeks before burning off with glyphosate.

That process can reduce blackgrass populations ten-fold and weeds that do emerge in the crop are of a more even size, reducing pressure on later applied herbicides.