Cultivation Principles - Fat hen
Philip Wright was trained in agricultural engineering at Silsoe College, Bedford, gaining an Honours Degree in 1979. He became registered as a Chartered Engineer with the Engineering Council in 1990, and is a member of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the British Society of Soil Science. Philip was technical director of Simba International (now Great Plains), the UK leading manufacturer of cultivations machinery, having been employed there since 1979.
As part of the BASF panel of Arable Weed Control experts, Philip will advise on cultivations and drilling techniques specifically targeting the control of various key weeds, for example how they respond soil disturbance, where the weed seed bank needs to be for best control [inverted/buried, or in the upper zone of maximum residual herbicide efficacy], plus the ideal scenarios for effective control – delayed drilling, spring cropping, other cultivations and residue/canopy management options, ideal cropping rotation sequences, etc.
Residue spreading and shallow stale seedbed cultivation by raking
Residue Management: Ensure even spread of residues across field and a good chop of straw to maximise herbicide efficacy and avoid unnecessary cultivations. Straw chopper knives need changing/reversing regularly – often 3 or more times a season.
Where appropriate (e.g. when direct drilling with appropriate drill into high residue levels) leave a longer stubble height. Stubble mulching of high stubbles can be used where straw needs time to become brittle after harvest.
Residue spreading and shallow stale seedbed cultivation by raking (multiple passes followed by glyphosate as needed) combined with germination is unaffected by autumn cultivations, seeds are attractive to predators but many survive passage through the guts of birds which may even increase germination.
Deep cultivations spread seed throughout the profile. Shallow cultivations keep it on the surface. Given that it germinates late in the season cultivations will do little to reduce numbers.
Leave stubbles undisturbed as this will maximise predation and encourage germination if moisture is available. It is possible that seedlings will start to produce seeds, in warm autumn conditions, 4 weeks after emergence so monitor stubbles carefully and spray off the initial flush with glyphosate.
A shallow cultivation will bring fresh seed to the surface where it will germinate, this can then be sprayed off and the process repeated. Germination will decrease as soil temperatures fall below 5°C.
Where populations are very high plough to place seed below emergence depth (5cm).