Collection and dormancy testing of black-grass seed

Project Report No. 404

Collection and dormancy testing of black-grass seed


S K Cook and R Brooke

ADAS UK Ltd, Boxworth, Cambs. CB23 4NN



The aim of this three month project was to provide continuation of information on black-grass dormancy for the 2006 season. The project followed on from the LINK project ‘Improving profitability by using minimum cultivations and exploiting grass weed ecology’ (LK0923/HGCA 2469) which finished in August 2005 (Project Report No. 381). Seed was collected from 37 sites and assessed for dormancy level during summer 2006. Results were issued as a press release during mid-August 2006 to coincide with cereal harvest and cultivation planning. This information included the dormancy status and guidelines on the implications of this on black-grass management for the following season.

The data from 2006 fitted the pattern seen in the previous years of 2001, 2003 and 2005. In these years, as in 2006, mean maximum and minimum temperatures were hotter than average, hours of sunshine were above average and dormancy low. Dormancy levels in 2006, measured in the seed samples, covered a wide range (16-87%, mean 56% germination). Advice was communicated to the industry via several routes.

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