Status of the work in WP5, the UK National Cluster

June 2018

IWMPraise was presented to a grassland farmer meeting at North Wyke, Devon UK, on the 17th October 2017. A wide-ranging discussion was had on the potential interventions that could be tested in co-designed experiments as part of the WP5. This is a summary of the discussion:

Herbicides are an issue in water courses; especially MCPA, 2,4-D and Clopyralid. Main targets are dock (Rumex obtusifolius?), thistle (Cirsium arvense), soft rush (Juncus effusus), chickweed (Stellaria media) and marsh foxtail (Alopecurus geniculatus).

Herbicides are used in sward establishment phase pre-emergence and also mature swards; I wasn’t entirely where the main environmental issues were coming from and the timing of applications.

There was some discussion about the extent of the problem particularly concerning docks which were thought not too bad nutritionally when small.

Main options for weed control in an integrated system to reduce herbicide use were:

  • Mixed species swards
  • Inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi to increase growth and competition with weeds
  • Rotational grazing
  • Stale seedbed
  • Liming or use of sea sand to increase pH
  • Appropriate silage management to reduce weed seed return

Following the meeting, an experiment is being planned for late summer 2017 with sward species diversity x sowing rate x establishment method as treatments. Details are currently being finalised.