Cereals 2015: New tool provides one-stop shop for blackgrass control

A new online tool will provide growers with all the information they need for making the tough decisions required to get on top of blackgrass.

High levels of the grassweed have built in arable areas of England due to tight winter wheat rotations, combined with the loss of effective herbicides through regulation and resistance.

Those with the problem grassweed on their land need to take action if they are to maintain wheat as an economically viable crop, but are often bombarded with advice from many different sources.

Bayer CropScience’s Blackgrass Task Manager tool aims to create a one-stop advice shop for implementing various blackgrass control measures throughout the cropping year.

Bayer’s herbicide campaign manager Phillippa Overson told Farmers Weekly that many growers are doing a number of things right, but the tool will help them seize every possible opportunity to lower blackgrass numbers.

“We have been offering advice on blackgrass control for a long period of time and the Blackgrass Task Manager tool will help link all the information together.

“Controlling blackgrass is not all about chemistry, it is taking in all aspects of cultural and chemical control and this helps to break down all the things you need to consider,” says Mrs Overton.

The tool is based the four pillars of blackgrass control:

  1. Check – know your enemy by counting numbers and testing for herbicide resistance
  2. Cultivations – make the most of all opportunities to reduce blackgrass pressure, such as rotational ploughing
  3. Crop – delayed drilling allows pre-drilling control and higher seed rates and good crop establishment help increase crop competition
  4. Chemistry – using both pre- and post-emergence herbicides at the correct dose and timing to ensure maximum efficacy

Growers will log into the web service and access information, videos and a seasonal task list, which can issue reminders through the season to ensure those tasks are completed.

There will also be regional information on trials open days and results and a platform for growers to share what they have implemented on their farm and what’s worked and what’s not.

“We want growers to engage with us and by sharing their experiences, it will enable us to keep developing and improving the tool.

“There is also the potential to bolt on tools such as calculators for the economics of blackgrass control in the future,” says Mrs Overson.

The tool is now live, free to sign up and you can access it at bayercropscience.co.uk

For more news, photos, video and information at the Cereals event see our Cereals 2015 page

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