Impact of cultivation strategy on grass weed control

At Barton, in our matrix field, we have crossed both cultivation technique and crop species to look at the effect of population, resistance and dormancy across the rotation. The work spans 5 years to enable effects of the rotation to become evident, for both grass weed control but also margin over input costs across the rotation.

Use our Cultivation Insight Tool to visualise the effect of different combinations of cultivations on black-grass distribution in the soil. 

Cultivation matrix findings

Our findings over the last three years suggest that using the same cultivation year on year isn’t the way to achieve the best margin or black-grass control. We found:Best margin: DD/Min-till/DDBest control: DD/Plough/DDWorst margin: Plough/DD/DDWorst control: Continuous min-till

Black-grass control

This table shows the effect of each cultivation on black-grass control in each season.

Margin

This table shows the effect of each cultivation on margin in each season.

The impact of seasonal context

As you can see the cultivation strategy that has given the best ‘control’ (or reduction) in black-grass over the 3 year period is DD/Plough/DD. This is despite the Plough giving the best control on average in both years one and two when considered as individual seasons. Best control was seen in a situation where the previous year’s plough offered a ‘re-set’ before direct drilling, meaning there was only one season’s seed return to contend with. Due to the low dormancy of that freshly shed seed residual herbicides worked well where that seed was on the surface in the direct drilling. The position of the plough in the multi-year strategy is something we are interested to understand further as the project progresses.

The best margin came from a DD/Min-till/DD strategy where there was a balance of moisture retention in undisturbed soils in dry summers and good establishment in the wet autumn of 2017.

Establishment

At Barton, in our matrix field, we have crossed both cultivation technique and crop species to look at the effect of population, resistance and dormancy across the rotation. The work spans 5 years to enable effects of the rotation to become evident, for both grass weed control but also margin over input costs across the rotation.