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Sterile/Barren brome

Anisantha sterilis

Sterile, or Barren brome is predominantly a problem in winter cereals. It robs crop yield and causes lodging where it’s left uncontrolled.

It is an annual grass 20-100 cm tall, upright until anthesis then disappearing below the crop as the weed matures.

Sterile/Barren brome is becoming increasingly common in the UK due to shallow and no till cultivations.

LeavesFinely pointed, covered in short hairs
AuriclesNone
LigulesBlunt and serrated, up to 6mm
Seeds produced per plantUp to 200 per plant
Seed shedJuly to October
Germination periodAugust to October (98%)
Germination depthUp to 5cm
Primary dormancyGenerally none, but varies between populations
Secondary dormancyLeaving seed on the surface exposes them to light and dry conditions enforcing dormancy on a small proportion of seeds
Seed longevity1 - 2 years
Factor promoting germinationdark
Rate of decline with cultivations90% per year
Geographical locationFound throughout England, Wales and the arable areas of Scotland, up to altitudes of 350m Sterile/Barren brome’s natural habitat is field margins and headlands.
Soil TypeAll soil types
RotationPopulation increase is favoured by cereal monoculture, early autumn cereal sowing, no-till cultivations and a lack of break crops.
ImpactSterile/Barren brome is very competitive and 10 plants m² will cause a yield loss of 8% in winter cereals. Will also cause the crop to lodge at high populations.
Herbicide resistanceNone known in UK (Suspected but not proven)

More information on controlling this Arable Weed

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