Changing the future of food and farming

Cultural methods to control black grass

Event Date : March 24, 2015

Field lab at Shimpling Park Farm, Shimpling
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP29 4HY

This field lab will examine the approaches and experience that John Pawsey has had bringing sheep back onto his arable farm and the range of strategies available for dealing with a black grass problem. The Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme (DOFF) funded field trial, looking at the effect of grazing a winter wheat crop with sheep in the spring on black grass populations and crop yield will be demonstrated as one approach.

Participants will be able to see the effect of recent grazing on winter wheat sown at two different timings and results from the trials so far and what likely consequences they will have on black grass will be discussed. Other approaches such as using competitive crops, cover crops and spring cropping will also be compared in the field and across the farm rotation. Introducing sheep into the rotation also gives the opportunity to lengthen the ley phase and the control of black grass.

We will be joined by black grass expert Dr Stephen Moss from Rothamsted who will give a talk on black grass: the potential of non-chemical control.

Subsequent field lab meetings later in the year will involve recording the black grass population numbers resulting from the different approaches. Other methods including using a weed surfer at the optimal time when weed seed are not yet viable will also be investigated.

Agenda

  • Arrivals – 1230
  • Lunch – 1300
  • Introduction to the farm and experiences so far with sheep – 1330
  • Visit grazing trial and discussion – 1400
  • Farm tour – 1500
  • Tea – 1700

Book through the Soil Association website here

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