Farmer Focus: First blackgrass on farm prompts drastic action

As we get into the back end of the growing season, it feels like a good time to reflect on how we can learn from this season’s challenges. Some messages are quite obvious, but a good reminder nonetheless.

Less is more when it comes to autumn discing before winter barley. Especially when we have a winter rainfall such as we had.

Providing surface structure is OK, we’ll be direct drilling straight into the wheat stubble, or if time allows growing a catch crop of mustard and buckwheat between the winter wheat and barley.

I would think we’ll need six weeks minimum to make it worthwhile.

See also: Tips to tackle foliar sugar beet disease in high risk season

About the author

Richard Harris
Richard Harris manages his family farm in partnership with his father in south Devon. The farm grows wheat, barley, linseed, grass and cover crops, with a small pick-your-own pumpkin patch.
Read more articles by Richard Harris

Caravelle looks to be the pick of the winter barleys, so we’ll go again with it for 2025.   

Wheat into linseed stubble is a dream, and the best autumn/winter establishment that any cultivation can get you.

Wheat blends still seem to be holding there own against the straights, but we might try a low/no fungicide input field with Mayflower, which seems to be the only variety to hold its own against septoria in our area this year.

Light discing and rainfall after drilling seems vital for spring linseed establishment, which is now looking a picture in full flower.

Something we knew, but still a nice reminder and pleasing to see a good crop for a change.

The DS+ nitrogen sulphur compound combined with biological nitrogen seems to be working and feels the right programme for us.

A serious surprise when wandering through the wheat last week – blackgrass.

The enemy has well and truly arrived. Something we’ve not seen on the farm before. Still not 100% sure how it got here, but it’s here, fortunately in low populations.

So, I’m off for round three of rouging, hoping to clear the farm of every plant.

So far, I have found around six-to-seven plants/ha in total and I’m very much hoping that’s it!    

Need a contractor?

Find one now