14620HUT~FieldWise(April2018) - Page 1



Fieldwise
AGRONOMY NEWS FROM
APRIL 2018
Beat black
grass with
spring barley
Fieldwise
ViewPoint
Spring barley establishment for better black grass
control was up for discussion during a recent open day
at Hutchinsons’ Mollington black grass demonstration
site near Banbury, Oxfordshire.
Spring barley is key to successful
black grass control strategies
and to hammer home its benefits,
growers are urged to try higher
seed rates this season to
maximise crop competition.
Hutchinsons’ has been researching
control methods at its Black grass
Centre of Excellence, at Brampton for
eight years and all its knowledge and
expertise is now being utilised at a
number of regional centres, including the
site at Mollington, just north of Banbury.
In 2016, Hutchinsons took on four
fields of wet-lying silty clay loam on Roy
Hall’s 567ha Bourtonfield Farm, with
the aim of reining in huge black grass
numbers to more sustainable levels.
Local agronomist Toby Kellie, who
covers large parts of the Cotswolds,
says spring barley provides weeds with
greater competition than other spring
cereals, such as oats or wheat.
Therefore, it will
form the foundation
of the Hutchinsons’
strategy at
Mollington, as the
rotation switches
away from autumnsown cropping.
Toby Kellie
AGRONOMIST
“The black grass situation here is
horrendous, with up to 1,600 plants/m2
ahead of oilseed rape last year. The
best rotational solution we have is
spring barley and it will be key in
getting it under control,” he explains.
Crop competition
Health &
Harmony
Mike Hutchinson
HORTICULTURAL DIRECTOR
2018 is a milestone year for
While spring barley helps maximise
Hutchinsons, marking eight
black grass kill with glyphosate ahead
decades of service to UK agriculture.
of drilling, Mr Kellie says correct
In the recently published consultation
establishment also plays a critical role
on the future of UK farming, it is
in maximising crop competition and
clear that DEFRA would like to see
subsequent black grass control.
our agricultural industry move away
Seed rate experiments in the first year
from the principle of CAP support,
at Mollington drilled spring barley at
despite successive reforms, in favour
250, 375 and 500 seeds/m2. They
of payments targeted towards areas
also cross-drilled some plots twice at
such as the environment, animal
90 degrees using rates of 250/125
welfare and business investment, to
(375 total), 250/250 (500), 375/125
drive diversified farm incomes and
(500) and 375/250 (625) seeds/m2.
business efficiencies.
The higher conventional and crossContinue overleaf >>>
drilled seed rates of 500 seeds/m2,
or more, produced a better
establishment percentage, plus
more competition for the black
grass. This ultimately led to
fewer black grass heads/m2
and a reduction in seed return.
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