Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw

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JJDigger

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Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« on: May 10, 2021, 22:50 »
Dear Friends
I have the opportunity to obtain previously dampened (and therefore spoilt) straw, or straw left over at the end of the season, from a local farmer.  I intended to dig this in or to use as a winter mulch to help to add carbon-rich fibrous material to what is a fertile but light and in places sandy soil.
Then I wondered if by doing so, I might unwittingly import pests or diseases into my allotment.
I think it is wheat straw this year.
Does anyone have any advice or information on this?
All comments gratefully received.

JJDigger (South Cambs)
JJ

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Subversive_plot

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2021, 23:21 »
Depending on its condition, you can use as a mulch, or dug in, or as a component of a batch of compost.

Last year I used half-rotted green grass clippings as a mulch around peppers, it worked just fine.
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Blewit

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2021, 07:53 »
I've composted straw like that and it worked a treat but however you decide to use it be careful when handling as it can contain health damaging spores (see farmer's lung).

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snowdrops

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2021, 08:00 »
Iíd check itís not been sprayed with any of the pyralid herbicides as you might unwittingly cause yourself a lot of problems, John (owner) of site has written an article on amniopyralid issues. Also if just using as a mulch over the winter you will be providing an ideal environment for slugs & snails to overwinter & breed.
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jambop

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2021, 08:44 »
Depending on how much you have you could compost it with grass clippings to make some nice stuff.

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JJDigger

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2021, 16:05 »
Answers from both sides of the pond and the Channel!

Thank you all so much for the tips and advice.  I will ask the kindly farmer re pyralid herbicides before I go any further.  I think I read a bit of that article of John's, but clearly didn't sit up and take enough notice!  A thorough re-reading is in prospect.
I shall also ensure that I use a mask when handling, to guard against dust and spores.  Already got a bit of asthma, so don't want to exacerbate that.
If I do dig it in and also add it to the compost heap, I'm going to chop it up reasonably finely, so again, care will be needed.
Thank you Jambop, Snowdrops, Blewit and Subversive Plot.  Sounds like one of those cryptic questions on "Round Britain Quiz": "What do Jambop, Snowdrops, Blewit and Subversive Plot have in common?"
Answer: Kind hearts, wise heads and ready answers.

JJ

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JJDigger

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2021, 08:14 »
Hi again, just a further word re aminopyralid herbicides.  I checked on the net for more up to date information.  Wikipedia says that when use of these was suspended some years ago, more stringent rules for their use were introduced before they were allowed back on the market in the UK.

However, it also mentions two instances in 2011 and 2020 where traced problems arose for individual growers.

I am therefore going to do a runner bean test on the horse manure I have used (happily on only on one small part of my patch, for new rhubarb crowns) and remove the lot as far as I can if the test proves positive, plus burn the crowns.  From now on I think I'll go over to winter-grown green manures on those parts of the plot not used for winter brassicas etc., as recommended in the e mail comments back in 2008.

Thank you again for all your comments.

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Nobbie

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2021, 10:24 »
Iíd pile it up for a while, let it get wet and then cover it over summer to let it breakdown a bit. You can then spread it on the beds over winter to suppress weeds and let the worms do their bit. By spring a light forking should be enough. Iíve done this myself with a huge quantity of lawn moss from last year, although it does take longer to break down, but itís well on itís way now and has done a great job of suppressing weed grow.

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JJDigger

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2021, 12:31 »
Many thanks, Nobble
Provided it proves to have been from a safe source re amino-pyralids, that sounds a good long-term plan.

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JJDigger

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2021, 12:32 »
Whops, sorry I meant Nobbie - didn't have my glasses on!

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coldandwindy

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2021, 10:39 »
Hi again, just a further word re aminopyralid herbicides.  I checked on the net for more up to date information.  Wikipedia says that when use of these was suspended some years ago, more stringent rules for their use were introduced before they were allowed back on the market in the UK.

However, it also mentions two instances in 2011 and 2020 where traced problems arose for individual growers.

I am therefore going to do a runner bean test on the horse manure I have used (happily on only on one small part of my patch, for new rhubarb crowns) and remove the lot as far as I can if the test proves positive, plus burn the crowns.  From now on I think I'll go over to winter-grown green manures on those parts of the plot not used for winter brassicas etc., as recommended in the e mail comments back in 2008.

Thank you again for all your comments.
Hi, A bit late to the discussion. Would just like to add that clover is very sensitive to aminopyrolids. We buy in straw for cattle bedding then use the cow manure plus straw as fertilizer on crops. We buy from a dealer so can't always find out the source, let alone what it was sprayed with. What you can do is sow clover on the heap in spring to check it before spreading.
Also I think I remember reading somewhere that composting & soil bacteria degrade aminopyralids in about 12 months. Has anyone else heard this?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 08:56 by coldandwindy »

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coldandwindy

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2021, 08:58 »
Dear Friends
I have the opportunity to obtain previously dampened (and therefore spoilt) straw, or straw left over at the end of the season, from a local farmer.  I intended to dig this in or to use as a winter mulch to help to add carbon-rich fibrous material to what is a fertile but light and in places sandy soil.
Then I wondered if by doing so, I might unwittingly import pests or diseases into my allotment.
I think it is wheat straw this year.
Does anyone have any advice or information on this?
All comments gratefully received.

JJDigger (South Cambs)
P.S.
This is the official line from Dow Agri - who make the stuff

file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/AminopyralidGardenerResponse29Apr09.pdf

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Grubbypaws

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Re: Use of Previously Damp/Unused Straw
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2021, 11:35 »
Iíve done this myself with a huge quantity of lawn moss from last year, although it does take longer to break down, but itís well on itís way now and has done a great job of suppressing weed grow.

Hi Nobbie, We also have a compost bin full off moss from last years scarification but I have been scared to use it in case I just end up spreading moss around my plot. How do you know when it is truly dead? I am worried that it will play possum until my back is turned and then turn green again  :unsure:



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