Resistance Management from Edward Vipond
Edward Vipond, Troston Farms, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Edward Vipond manages a range of crops across 1500ha spread over 25 miles, on soils ranging from heavy clay to Breckland sands.
He is battling black-grass, mainly on heavy soils, but the weed can also be found to a lesser extent on lighter soils.
With target site and enhanced metabolism resistance endemic in the population, cultural control is key to backing up carefully selected chemistry to help keep black-grass in check.
One wheat field emphasises how quickly things can unravel when faced with this level of resistance and the need to consider more radical techniques, he says.
The crop followed late-lifted sugar beet and is infested with the weed, due to a plough/combi-drill strategy to cope with the surface trash. “We went too deep and pulled up fresh black-grass seed and stirred it about. It came back to bite me.
“We couldn’t adopt a robust chemical approach – the pre-em was applied late in the season, the crop and black-grass took an age to emerge. We couldn’t apply a post-em as the temperature and conditions were wrong, so we had to resort to a spring application when the black-grass was much bigger, and it didn’t do the job.”
In hindsight he believes he underestimated the problem and should have sprayed off the worst areas in the current wheat crop. The plan now is to follow the wheat with maize for anaerobic digestion, providing a window to get two or three black-grass chits before the winter.
“It all sounds a bit radical, but with resistant black-grass we are left with no choice. We may have to become even more radical in the future – we have to be open to all ideas if we are to get back on top of black-grass.”