2015-06-15   facebooktwitterrss

The Fight Against Black-Grass

Driving forward improvements in agriculture and the battle to combat black-grass is the subject of a highly relevant seminar which will be held at next month’s Great Yorkshire Show.

Combatting Black Grass, this resilient and invasive weed is an issue on many farmers’ agendas so the chance to hear the latest research and tactics will come under the spotlight at the breakfast seminar on Thursday 16 July.

Prof Rob Edwards, Head of Agriculture at Newcastle University

Prof Rob Edwards, Head of Agriculture at Newcastle University

The event is being organised by the Farmer-Scientist Network which is run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. The Society is best known as the organiser of the Great Yorkshire Show. The Network is chaired by Prof Rob Edwards, Head of Agriculture at Newcastle University.

Prof Edwards said: “Black-grass is a serious threat to UK arable farming and in particular, to winter wheat production. Infestation currently affects 34 counties in England, predominantly in the east and south, but it is now moving north and into Yorkshire. There is reported herbicide resistance in over 16,000 farms so this has the potential of a national emergency in terms of winter wheat production.”

He added: “The seminar is an opportunity to hear the latest on ground breaking research towards the first steps in the control of this invasive weed and will provide farmers with the knowledge and long term planning tactics needed to deal with it.”

The farmer’s perspective will be given by arable farmer Tom Allen-Stevens of Oxfordshire, whilst Dr Paul Neve, Senior Research Scientist , Rothamsted Research will address understanding resistance in black-grass and Prof. Rob Freckleton, of the University of Sheffield, speaking on its affects in the North of England. There will also be opportunities for questions

The seminar runs from 8:15am - 9:30am, on Thursday 16 July and takes place at the Regional Agricultural Society’s offices at the Great Yorkshire Showground. For more details and to register please contact Holly Jones, Farmer-Scientist Network on 01423 546251.

Prof Rob Edwards is the newly appointed Chair of the Farmer-Scientist Network following the retirement of Prof Dianna Bowles earlier this month. He is well positioned to take the vision of the FSN forwards, not least due to his many successes in leading programmes to ensure science achieves practical benefits for society. He was appointed to the Head of Agriculture at Newcastle in March last year. In a very short time has already achieved immense success, not least :-

  • leading the £3.5 million AHDB/BBSRC National Black grass herbicide initiative

  • becoming Research Director of a new joint institute involving Newcastle University and Fera Science Ltd, with £9 million already committed

  • providing the science lead for the successful £16 million Catalyst Bid for the N8 Universities to HEFCE “Food Security Technologies’

  • providing primary co-ordinator role of the N8 Agritech bid to BIS Agricultural Systems technology innovation centre

  • acting as Deputy Chair of the BBSRC Agriculture and Food Security Strategy Panel


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