News that the highly invasive blackgrass weed has been found in commercial wildflower mixes has sent shockwaves through the tillage industry.

Blackgrass is a highly competitive grass weed capable of devastating tillage farms.

Last week, farm manager at Teagasc Oak Park, Carlow, John Hogan discovered blackgrass growing in a wildflower mix which was sown on the research farm last autumn.

The wildflower mix in question was non-native and was believed to have been imported from the UK or Europe and sold by a local merchant.

Wildflower mixes are being championed as an important tool to increase biodiversity on farms.

However, it’s not just farmers who have been sowing wildflower mixes.

Over the past year, there have been several industry initiatives to promote the planting of wildflowers.

As a result, schools, businesses and consumers have planted large areas of wildflower mixes.


Currently, it is unclear exactly how much imported wildflower seeds have been contaminated with blackgrass seeds.

While readers of the Irish Farmers Journal will be well aware of the dangers of blackgrass, thanks to our ongoing year-long blackgrass campaign, many members of the public may be unaware of the risks.

If blackgrass is found to be present in the mix, then the wildflowers must be thoroughly destroyed. Therefore, being able to identify the weed is crucial.


Earlier this year, we visited ECT project manager with Teagasc in Oak Park Jimmy Staples, where we outlined the key identification features of the weed.

Watch the full video below.

For more on this story, read this week’s Irish Farmers Journal.