Pat Thornton: My top tips for managing weeds


Pat Thornton, Low Melwood Farm, Epworth, Doncaster

My top tips for managing weeds:

  1. Understand your enemy. 

Understanding weed biology and why particular weeds thrive on your farm is always a step closer to understanding how to control it.  So always think how to create a ‘hostile environment’ for it to grow and spread. Doing what you have always done will only ever give you the same results.

  1. Be one step ahead.

When it comes to chemical control of weeds think one crop forward e.g. if cranesbill or cleavers are an issue in OSR then try and control them in a preceding crop where you may have a better arsenal of active ingredients, higher control efficiencies and be more cost effective. Never miss an opportunity.

  1. Don’t forget to farm.

Be honest with yourself with regard to weed levels and don’t think their will be a chemical solution around the corner.  Changing rotations to break weed life cycles can come at the cost of income but can bring opportunities to improve soil health, structure and drainage which will bolster yields further down the line.  It is a difficult decision to make, particularly on land not suited to spring establishment,  but farming is a long term investment and time has proved that prevention is better than cure when it comes to weed control.