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Defining the habitat niche of Alopecurus myosuroides at the field scale

Metcalfe, H, Milne, A E, Webster, R, Lark, R M, Murdoch, A J, Kanelo, L, Storkey, J
Weed research 2018 v.58 no.3 pp. 165-176
Alopecurus myosuroides, autumn, farmers, fertilizer application, habitats, pesticide application, seedlings, soil properties, soil types, spraying, summer, weeds
The distribution of Alopecurus myosuroides (black‐grass) in fields is patchy. The locations of these patches can be influenced by the environment. This presents an opportunity for precision management through patch spraying. We surveyed five fields on various types of soil using a nested sampling design and recorded both A. myosuroides seedlings in autumn and seed heads in summer. We also measured soil properties at those sampling locations. We found that the patches of seed heads within a field were smaller than the seedling patches, suggesting that techniques for patch spraying based on maps of heads in the previous season could be inherently risky. We also found that the location of A. myosuroides patches within fields can be predicted through their relationship with environmental properties and that these relations are consistent across fields on different soil types. This improved understanding of the relations between soil properties and A. myosuroides seedlings could allow farmers to use pre‐existing or suitably supplemented soil maps already in use for the precision application of fertilisers as a starting point in the creation of herbicide application maps.