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AHDB Review Finds Major Shake-Up of Weed Investment Required

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The UK’s approach to weed management investment needs to be overhauled, if the needs of industry are to be met. This was a key conclusion of the first ever major cross-sector review of weed management, commissioned by AHDB and BBRO and delivered by a team of ADAS and industry weed experts.

AHDB Review Finds Major Shake-Up of Weed Investment Required

The review outlined that essential weed management information could be lost to the industry unless key sources of reference material are identified and archived. 

Joe Martin, AHDB senior crop protection scientist for weeds, said: “The UK has been at the forefront of weed research in the post-war era, laying the foundation for management, including the provision of essential data on weed biology. However, the legacy of this research is being eroded.”

In addition to identifying, protecting and translating weed management information, the ADAS-led review team warned that information can become trapped within high-science, peer-reviewed journals. As a result, we’ve recommended that a mechanism be identified to get essential information out to farmers and growers faster.

In addition to recommending that the industry be provided with robust and up-to-date weed management information and tools, the review also detailed how research investment needs to be directed over the short, medium and longer term.

Key recommendations and priorities for research funders and regulators are:

  • Increase access to and use of current knowledge
  • Link practical knowledge better with fundamental research
  • Maximise herbicide availability
  • Agree funding for Integrated Weed Management (IWM)
  • Understand selectivity between crops and weeds

The full review and recommendations can be accessed via ahdb.org.uk/weedreview

New Direction

The review has provided its funders and the wider industry with the information needed to coordinate investment through a targeted programme of research and knowledge exchange. AHDB has recently made a commitment to support a coordinated programme of activity on the integrated management of weeds over the next five years (see https://ahdb.org.uk/weedreview).

The ADAS team led by Dr Sarah Cook included Lynn Tatnell, Laura Davies, Frances Pickering, Angela Huckle, Sonia Newman, Chloe Whiteside, Charlotte White, David Talbot and Helen Holmes with specialised input from key crop experts Pat Turnbull (sugar beet), Denis Buckley (potatoes) and Jim Scrimshaw (PGRO). James Clarke, Steve Ellis and Sarah Clarke all of ADAS edited the review.

The work (project number CP 182 / 1807258) was funded under a contract of £26,000 from AHDB and £10,000 from BBRO, with additional funding from BASFBayer CropScienceBelchimCorteva AgriscienceFMC Agro LtdSyngenta and UPL Europe Ltd. Additional in-kind funders and contributors: FrontierGarford Farm MachineryHutchinsonsMaize Growers AssociationPGROProcam and Rootwave.

For more information about the project, please contact Sarah Cook 

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