Much of the focus in recent years in weed management has been on aggressive grassweeds but changing farming systems towards conservation agriculture will be reflected in changing weed management issues and priorities.
One change already being seen in response to these changes is a resurgence of a diverse range of broad-leaved weeds; poppy, groundsel, mayweed and pansy as well as the emergence of new broad-leaved weed challenges like bur chervil.
In partnership with ROTAM, NIAB has created a site at Hinxton, near Cambridge, dedicated to long-term sustainable management of these diverse broad-leaved weed species.
As a centrepiece a long-term trial has been established, studying the impact of cultural factors (cultivations and crop sowing date) on broad-leaved weed communities over time. Cultural control as a management tool for these species has not been studied enough in the past. Looking towards the future trials demonstrating and proving concepts like under-sowing maize and banded selective herbicides alongside mechanical weeding will be part of the effort.
While we need to think about different thinking and approaches at the same time we need to re-prioritise effective and efficient use of existing herbicide options.
Introduction to the project
NIAB's Weed Biology and Managment Specialist, John Cussans and Dilwyn Harris from ROTAM explain what the project is all about: