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.