Imports of straw onto the island of Ireland are reported to be increasing and Teagasc has warned of the risk this poses for grass weed infestations.
Much of this straw is coming from the southeast of England, where blackgrass is rampant.
Head of crops knowledge transfer at Teagasc, Michael Hennessy said he is “extremely worried about any straw coming from a blackgrass infested area”.
He noted that while blackgrass is now common in parts of England, farmers need to be equally careful about importing from farms with the weed in Ireland.
He said importing straw with blackgrass “poses a risk of spreading during transport, on-farm and a general spread from the affected farm thereafter”.
The weed can render tillage fields unviable, but also poses a risk to grassland quality. He added that farmers need to be careful if importing slurry from farms which have imported straw.
Grass weed event
Teagasc will host its first ever Grass Weed Conference on 8 November at the Killashee Hotel, Co Kildare.
The conference comes as more evidence of resistance to herbicides is being seen in grass weeds and as incidences of blackgrass increase on farms.