Roy Ward Farms: Fortune favours the brave

One Lincolnshire grower has been on a crusade to eradicate blackgrass through a series of cultural, chemical and equipment control measures. It has required nerves of steel, plus attention to detail and a keen selection process to keep machinery costs under control

Prior to the 2013 season, yields were haemorrhaging and costs were spiralling out of control for Lincolnshire grower Andrew Ward of Roy Ward Farms. “It was all down to blackgrass infestations,” he says. “At the time, we threw more cultivations and more chemicals at the problem, and our cereal crop choices were wrong too which simply compounded the issue. What we’ve had to do, is go back to basics and be ruthless in our approach. And that included spraying off large expanses of standing crop rather than risk shedding blackgrass seeds and then putting a poor crop through the combine, and spreading seeds in other fields.”