Testing decisions for black-grass viability

Farming Monthly National|June 2020

Testing decisions for black-grass viability
Cereal growers are being urged to spray off patches infested with black-grass now, before more plants set viable seed. The stress of hot dry weather has brought forward seed maturity, with viability set to accelerate over the next few weeks.
Georgina Wood

Viability testing of black-grass seed heads from the Syngenta Barton Black-grass Innovation Centre, near Cambridge, has shown up to 23% of seed is already viable in some heads, with an overall average of 7%. Some heads, however, have yet to show any viable seeds. Patches of heavy black-grass infestation mapped for burning out with glyphosate need to be targeted quickly, advocated ADAS grassweed specialist, Dr Sarah Cook.

“Continued hot dry weather means we expect to see the results from viability testing accelerating,” she reported. “With the range of viability we’ve seen, growers can still have a beneficial effect, but don’t leave it too late.”

She believes that viability testing of the Barton black-grass population gives a good indication of the situation across the eastern counties.


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June 2020