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New £2.8m black-grass initiative to be launched at Cereals

THE HGCA and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have joined forces to fund a £2.8 million research initiative into UK black-grass management and resistance issues.  

The two organisations say the black-grass project is a united effort to understand and manage black-grass and are asking growers to provide researchers with black-grass samples.

The project will be launched officially on the second day of Cereals 2014 and will begin with a survey starting this summer. It is hoped the survey results will give an insight into the scale of black-grass resistance across the UK.

Growers are being asked to help by providing black-grass seed samples from fields with a known field management history.

HGCA research and KT manager Paul Gosling says: “It is now generally accepted some degree of resistance occurs on virtually all farms on which black-grass herbicides have been used regularly.

“This new initiative will further our understanding of the evolution of herbicide resistance, including the spread of resistance mechanisms and the impact of resistance on weed densities and crop yields.”

The work is also looking to improve diagnostic tools, so low-level resistance can be detected in field and controlled before it becomes an established issue.

Dr Paul Neve, Rothamsted Research, says: “By combining state-of-the-art genomic approaches with weed ecology and agronomy, we will unravel the major driving forces for the evolution of multiple herbicide resistance.

“In-field resistance diagnostics will be developed to aid early detection and provide farmers with the opportunity to manage resistance pro-actively.”

The announcement of the new initiative coincides with the release of a new HGCA publication on black-grass solutions.

The publication outlines cultural control methods, the value of conducting resistance tests, developing more targeted herbicide programmes, and how to launch an attack on problematic patches of black-grass.

  • More information is available on HGCA’s new black-grass pages, designed to help growers plan individual approaches to black-grass management on their own farm, at www.hgca.com/weeds

How to participate

  • Growers interested in providing samples and taking part in the survey should email bgri@rothamsted.ac.uk
  • Samples will be assessed by the research team and growers will be invited to attend forums discussing resistance status and management
  • Information will be treated in confidence and individuals will not be identified in any published findings

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