9 tweets summing up this autumn’s blackgrass battle so far

It affects almost half of the national winter cropping area, it drives cropping decisions and potential solutions for tackling it fill many Farmers Weekly web pages – it is of course that most troublesome of weeds, blackgrass.

The battle can often feel like taking two steps forward, and one step back, with successful control requiring a combination of tactics working together in order to get the near-perfect control required to deplete the reserve of weed seeds in the soil.

This season, of course, is no different, with growers busy tackling flushes of the highly competitive grassweed in stubbles, stale seed-beds and newly emerged crops up and down the land.

See also: How to plough to bury your blackgrass

Farmers Weekly rounded up the best of what has been happening on Twitter to bring you a flavour of how some growers have been getting on.

Low-disturbance lessons

Bedfordshire agronomist William Nankivell and Lincolnshire farmer Malc Parr have seen first-hand the power of moving as little as soil as possible, with weeds emerging predominantly where strip cultivations have taken place, but not where ground has been left undisturbed.

There is more than one way to skin a cat of course, and Leicestershire farmer Steve Heard is putting an older machine to good use by tickling the top enough to cause a flush without disturbing seed lower in the profile.

Lest we forget though, there is still plenty of ploughing going on, with a strategic weed seed bury often the right way to go to reset the season:

Dormancy debate

While crop consultancy group Adas predicted this season was set to be a high-dormancy year, with early-ripening blackgrass seed likely to take longer to emerge, results on the ground have in certain areas have suggested otherwise.

Competitive cropping called for

Many farmers have had good results from replacing wheat with extra barley in their rotation as it is more competitive and can shade out weeds from ever reaching the seed-shedding stage.

However, Gloucestershire agronomist Kathryn Styan shows it is not a magic bullet.

Things are looking better however in this field of Simon Dain’s on the Suffolk/Essex border, who is mightily pleased with this crop of Picto oilseed rape which will certainly be shading out any blackgrass trying to emerge.

Traffic trouble

And finally… we hope relations weren’t too badly damaged between Hutchinson’s agronomist Keiran Walsh’s client and one of their neighbours after this happened… could take a while to hand rogue.