‘Three Rs’ prompt radical rethink in arable heartland

What the experts say

Graham Redman, research economist, AndersonsNow, with the sharp fall in commodity prices, it makes sense for long rotations.
Graham Redman, Andersons


Bill Clark, technical director, Niab TagOnce we see septoria now, we cannot eradicate the disease.
Bill Clark, Niab Tag



Stephen Moss Rothamsted ResearchGrowers should look for a balance between delayed autumn drilling and spring cropping.
Stephen Moss, Rothamsted Research


Colin Lloyd, head of agronomy, AgriiWe have got to think more about cultural controls and rotations to solve our problems.
Colin Lloyd, Agrii

Farmers Weekly’s new five-part series looks at how growers can counter the “three Rs” of resistance, regulation and returns to secure the future for a sustainable farming system.

Growing resistance to pesticides, fewer new miracle agrochemicals – and greater regulation for their use – as well as falling returns caused by lower grain prices are forcing a radical rethink in the arable heartland of Britain.

We will consider the use of longer crop rotations to help control herbicide-resistant weeds, boost yields of crops such as oilseed rape, and improve soil fertility.

See also: Three key problems with arable farming – and how to fix them

With a dwindling number of pesticides available, we will examine the importance of mixing modes of action to protect their efficacy and cultural techniques to support the use of herbicides.

After the fall in wheat and oilseed rape prices, what alternative crops are available to help boost returns while benefiting the soil?

Over the next five weeks, we will look at the immediate problems and possible solutions, from cultural controls to rotations.

We’ll pay a visit to the home of the Norfolk four-course rotation, and interview a scientist who has spent over 40 years looking at way to control blackgrass.

In East Anglia, we meet a grower who is changing his rotation to improve weed control and his soil structure, plus take a look at whether the use of biopesticides could be an answer.

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