10 July 1998

Speedy test for grassweeds

A NEW rapid test to determine the presence of herbicide-resistant grassweeds in four weeks will be available next spring.

The Novartis Quicktest, which was launched at Sprays & Sprayers in Cambridgeshire, aims to give farmers and advisers an accurate, simple and quick in-season test

Quicktest provides results for different weed species, chemicals and types of resistance.

"To date, seed collection is the only reliable method for accurately identifying the presence of resistant grass weeds," says Novartiss Andy Pigott. "But this takes time and is too slow to allow control strategies to be developed in the same season. This is where Quicktest can help as results are available in just four weeks."

The new test was validated this season. Samples of grass weeds from 25 to 30 problem fields infested with blackgrass and wild oats were taken between March and May and checked against known yardstick samples. Results confirmed the test was accurate.

Novartis is working in collaboration with Oxford Plant Services to offer the new service. Cost has yet to be finalised.