Scuffing

By Peter Lundgren, The Farmer

I combined the previous crop of oilseed rape back in the first week of August. The rape straw was chopped behind the combine and I’ve scuffed the soil surface with a cultivator and rolled afterwards to keep the moisture in and get good seed to soil contact. The idea of cultivating the surface is to get oilseed rape seeds (we call them volunteers) that were shed by the combine, along with any weeds seeds, to germinate ready for ploughing in. One of the main reasons behind this cultivations is to germinate any blackgrass seeds before ploughing. I’m sure we will come back to the blackgrass problem again in more detail but briefly blackgrass has become tolerant to most of the herbicides that I can use in the growing wheat crop and therefore I’m trying to use cultural and mechanical methods to control the blackgrass before planting the wheat crop. There has been a good germination of volunteer oilseed rape and weeds so the next operation will be ploughing the germinated weeds in. I’ll then leave the ploughed surface for ten days to a fortnight to allow any blackgrass seeds I’ve missed, or that might have been brought back to the surface by the ploughing operation, to germinate before cultivation and drilling the seed.

Please feel free to read through questions and responses from the Field of Wheat collective members and the Farmer.

Craig

Does this approach remove any chance of blackgrass growth during crop cultivation, or is it just damage limitation?

2015-10-09 10:52:05

Peter Lundgren, The Farmer

Hi Craig My apologies for being slow responding. Blackgrass is a huge issue at the moment and is in my opinion symptomatic of so many of the problems in farming that I intend to cover the blackgrass issue in greater detail in a few weeks time. But to answer your question the field of wheat does not have a serious herbicide tolerant blackgrass problem at this time but it's almost inevitable that herbicide tolerant blackgrass is present and that without preventative measures will become a problem in the future. That's why I'm taking a belt and braces approach to preventative control and using everything available to me - be that cultural, chemical or mechanical. The scuffing operation coupled to sufficient soil moisture encourages the blackgrass seeds to break dormancy and germinate. Once they have started to germinate I can kill them using cultivation or herbicides like glyphosate. But if I bury the seeds before germination they can survive for years underground until brought back to the surface.

2015-10-14 10:35:58