Thursday, December 13, 2018

First major review of weed management

July 31, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

A joint call for a review of weed management in UK cropping systems has been launched by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and the British Beet Research Organisation.

Drawing upon national and international information sources, the AHDB and BBRO review will cover cereals and oilseeds, horticultural crops in the field and protected crops, potatoes and sugar beet, as well as grassland.

With £36,000 set aside for the work, it is hoped the review will identify improved ways to manage weeds and innovative research approaches by early 2019.

AHDB senior crop protection scientist Joe Martin said: “Weed control is a major challenge across all cropping sectors and it is essential limited resources are pooled to find new solutions. There are many examples of the challenges crop production faces.”

The recent loss of linuron, for example, had opened up gaps in weed control across the horticultural and potato sectors. The cereals sector also faced significant pressures, made worse by resistance issues in grass and broad-leaved weeds.

Meanwhile, key active ingredients for weed control in British sugar beet production – including phenmedipham and desmedipham – were also at risk of being withdrawn from the market, said Mr Martin.

“The diversity of UK cropping systems is both a challenge and an opportunity – a challenge, because of the wide range of crops, weeds and systems. An opportunity, because of the diverse range of weed control measures already being deployed.”

The review will identify ways to combine the use of a diminishing range of conventional synthetic herbicides with alternative options. Economic feasibility of the alternative options identified will be included, where possible.

Non-chemical options, biopesticides, biological controls, herbicide-tolerant varieties, application technology and novel approaches – such as the use of robotics, drones, electric weeding and modelling – will all be investigated as part of the review.

AHDB must receive full proposals by midday on 12 August 2018. The successful applicant will be informed later this summer.

For further details, including how to make an application, visit ahdb.org.uk/about/procurement

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