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Black-grass

Alopecurus myosuroides

Black-grass is one of the biggest challenges to profitable arable farming in the main wheat growing areas of the UK. On some farms growers have had to adopt dramatic shifts to their rotations, cultivations and even fundamental land use changes to get on top of the weed.

It is an annual grass 20 – 85cm tall with upright round and slender stems with few nodes.

Black-grass Facts

Herbicide resistanceEMR, ACCase TSR and ALS TSR
LeavesFine and smooth
AuriclesNone
LigulesBlunt and finely serrated; 2.5mm
Number of seeds produced per plantUp to 1000 per plant consisting of 100 seeds in each of the 10 heads
Seed shedJune to August
Germination periodSeptember to November (80%), March to May (20%)
Germination depthUp to 5cm
Primary dormancyVaries with summer temperatures, hot = low dormancy, cold = high dormancy
Does it have a secondary dormancy?Yes
Seed longevity1 - 5 years
Factor promoting germination(light)
Rate of annual seed decline with cultivations68% per year
Geographical locationLocated in the main cereal growing area of the UK, the east of England. Now moving to other areas predominantly in straw used for bedding or in machinery such as balers and pea viners
Soil TypeThrives on a wide range of soil types, predominantly water retentive heavy clays or silts, but very adaptable
ImpactCompetitive and has a high seed multiplication rate for following years/crops. 10 plants m²=13% yield loss in cereals

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