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Integrated method is key to black-grass battle

A young agronomist has been given a prestigious award for a research project looking at black-grass control in spring barley.

Twenty-six-year-old Richard Harris, of Bartholomews, was awarded the BASIS Barrie Orme Shield for excelling in the Certificate in Crop Protection.


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As part of the qualification, each candidate is required to carry out an independent research project. Mr Harris chose to base his on the control of black-grass in spring barley, using integrated pest management techniques to reach 97 per cent control.

He says: “This involved trialling eight different pre-emergence herbicides, in tandem with cultural controls, on a site with a very high black-grass population.

“I found that using a pre-emergence combination of pendimethalin and flufenacet on a crop of spring barley, drilled at a high seed rate, gained the best levels of control. This meant the autumn flush of black-grass was missed, allowing the crop to outcompete the suppressed weed population.

 

“This highlighted the importance of an integrated approach, implementing cultural methods and cropping patterns before using pesticide application as the final piece in a complex jigsaw,” he says.

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