Five key reasons to control broadleaved weeds in grassland:
1. Maximise Grass Yield
As a general rule, 1% ground cover of grassland weeds, such as Thistles and Docks, will reduce the productivity of grassland by 1%. If grassland weeds are as high as 10% then severe yield losses will occur and this will happen year on year unless a programme of weed control is planned.
2. Make Better Quality Silage
Weed infestations affect the quality of silage particularly Docks and Thistles.
3. Better Grassland Utilisation
Grazing animals tend to avoid patches of weeds, especially thistles. As a result there is a ungrazed grass around the weed so a decrease in pasture utilisation.
4. Healthier Stock
Weeds pose a threat to livestock health. Injurious weeds such as Ragwort can result in illness and even death, particularly in cattle. Thistles can act as “hypodermic needles” spreading diseases such as Orf in grazing sheep and lambs.
5. Extend Pasture Life
Broadleaved weeds allow less productive grasses to invade, particularly after cutting. This results in the reduction of desirable grass species and earlier renewal of the pasture is required.