By Dick Neale
If a grower tells you they plough, then you know exactly what you are dealing with.
If they “min-till”, that can mean anything from spread and scratch to 36cm (14in) of soil being moved with a Simba Solo – and that’s not my idea of min-till.
So let’s dispense with the min-till label and call it “non- inversion tillage”.
The key implement in non-inversion tillage is the drill because it dictates preceding cultivations which, in turn, influence weed germination.
Non-inversion tillage is often blamed for increasing grassweeds, so rotational ploughing is still employed widely.In my experience, this is misguided because well-executed non-inversion tillage does not raise grassweed burdens.
Non-inversion tillage gives you time to manage your problems correctly. But you must identify your problems first.
For example, some brome species germinate in the dark. Others need light and heat – plough these down and you’re in trouble.
It’s worth remembering the impact of different seasons on weed seed dormancy and that herbicides kill only what is growing.
So cultivations that induce dormancy will work against them and lead to poor control.
Ben says: “It’s horses for courses. Every year is different, and different cultivations at different timings do promote different weeds. But the basics of weed control are all the same, both in cultural and chemical methods. I think controlling grassweeds in a min-till situation can be easier in that they all emerge at the same time.”
Have your say on this issue on our weeds forum