Monster blackgrass heads threaten to add to weed burden

Growers are reporting unexpectedly high blackgrass numbers this season, but it could be extra-long heads giving the appearance of a bad burden.

Adas weed expert Sarah Cook says blackgrass pressure this year is broadly on par with what’s expected, but these monster heads may have the potential to deliver massive replenishment to the weed seed-bank if left unchecked.

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“It seems like [blackgrass] levels are similar in winter wheat this year. I think people have been more proactive by burning it off earlier and using spring crops and hybrid winter barley to get good control.

“What we have seen is that the blackgrass heads are massive this year, in some cases there are heads that are about three times the length of what is normal. We aren’t sure why this is but we are trying to find out.”

This may explain why some growers are reporting a surprisingly big blackgrass burden this season, it could be that these larger heads are giving the impression of a higher grassweed population.

Meanwhile, growers from Suffolk to County Kildare in Ireland are taking to Twitter to highlight what appears to be a surge in the yield-strangling weed’s numbers.

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