Farmers will be left without fire as a tool to fight the crop-damaging ergot, blind seed
disease and annual blue grass weed invasions, he lamented.
Field-burning each year after harvest controls weeds, removes leftover grass straw, and destroys diseases, including growers' nemesis, blind seed disease.
"Blind seed disease was inadvertently introduced, most likely from New Zealand, in the 1930s," says ARS plant pathologist Stephen C.
Jack Pimm, a third-generation grass seed grower, heard his grandfather and father talk about blind seed disease when he was a child.
"Sure enough, we had blind seed disease," Pimm says.