Results from a straw poll of farmers in England have shown six out of ten feel the success of their weed control has been either worse or much worse this year compared to last year, with only four out of ten rating it as the same or better. Conducted by Syngenta among farmers from Yorkshire to Somerset and Shropshire to East Anglia, almost six out of ten respondents rated black-grass as their number one problem grass weed. Moreover, of those naming black-grass as their number one grass weed, almost eight out of ten rated weed control this year as either worse or much worse compared to last year. “Hearing of disappointing weed control perhaps isn’t that surprising after the dry autumn,” says Syngenta cereal campaign manager, Melanie Wardle. “This made black-grass control, in particular, an even bigger challenge than normal. “Learning from this season, perhaps one of the main things it high lights is the increasing need for exploring even more robust cultural and chemical methods. “Such an approach might include effective use of cultivations, stale seedbeds and delayed drilling, but also maybe more novel approaches, such as competitive cereal varieties sown at competitive seed rates, and tank mixing or stacking different pre-emergence herbicides together. In trials, we’ve seen a higher level of black-grass control from using Defy with a flufenacet-based treatment than from a flufenacet-based treatment alone.” Among other weeds highlighted in the poll, brome species were also mentioned among respondents’ top three problem grass weeds, says Mrs Wardle. Meanwhile among broad-leaved species, half of respondent rated cleavers as their number one problem broad-leaved weed, she says, with other weeds such as cranesbill and bindweed also named. “Usefully, Defy also provides residual activity against cleavers and cranesbill,” Mrs Wardle adds.