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Bayer's Black-grass Task Force project

Trials can provide a great source for ideas but putting them into practice commercially can be challenging. The Black-grass Task Force project aims to help translate the excellent trials work demonstrating how to control black-grass into field scale practices. This resource brings all the knowledge together, to showcase it and apply it to commercial fields and present the answers and the results all in one place.

Critically, this project will not turn the focus fields into a checkerboard trial site criss-crossed with different treatments. It will remain a commercially run field with one or two large scale strip trials to test the effects of different types of management. These large-scale trials are intended to be the sort other farmers could do on their own farms.

To support the farmers during the project, soil and cultivation specialist Philip Wright and NIAB’s John Cussans will provide guidance on controlling black-grass and growing a profitable crop. In addition, Bayer’s field team will complete black-grass plant and headcounts as well as resistance tests to build up a detailed picture of what is happening in the field each year. 

Find out what’s going on at each of our Task Force farmers’ locations below.

Introduction

Shropshire farmer, Andrew Williamson is one of two farmers taking part in the Black-grass Task Force. On Andrew’s farm black-grass does not present a large problem, however, it remains a threat and he is conscious that the problem could get worse. As a result, the challenge on this farm is in how to manage the weed so that it does not become a major problem.

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Shropshire – Blog 1

Andrew Williamson is the host farmer for the Black-grass Task Force in Shropshire. He farms in partnership with neighbouring farmer Tom Giles; they share machinery and specialise in different operations across the farm. In total, there are 430 hectares of combineable crops including winter and spring cereals, oilseed rape and spring beans.

Read on and find out more about this farm and the Black-grass Task Force here.

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Shropshire - video series

We filmed some great videos with Andrew, and our two independent experts, John Cussans and Philip Wright, covering the following topics:

• An introduction to the Black-grass Task Force project
• The black-grass situation on Andrew’s farm
• The farm’s cultivation strategy
• How to manage the field in 2019/20 for black-grass control
• Andrew’s reaction to the plans for the field

You can find the rest of the videos from Andrew Williamson's farm and more on the Black-grass Task Force video series here.

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Introduction

On Paul Drinkwater’s Cambridgeshire farm, black-grass is a serious problem and the challenge is only getting worse. For Paul, the task will be about how to minimise the large black-grass problem and develop a strategy over the next 5 years to make running his farm more economically viable.

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Cambridgeshire – Blog 1

Paul Drinkwater is farm manager at the Abbots Ripton Farming Company and Lavenham Farms. He manages 3,600 hectares, of which around 70% of the land has a black-grass problem located mainly on Hanslope boulder clay.

Read on and find out more about this farm and the Black-grass task Force here.

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Cambridgeshire - video series

Our videos with Paul, and our independent experts John Cussans and Philip Wright, give a great insight into the project, the field situation and the plans for 2019/20.


• An introduction to the Black-grass Task Force
• The black-grass situation on the farm
• Paul’s soil disturbance management strategy
• How the experts suggest managing the field in 2019/20
• Paul’s opinion on the Black-grass Task Force recommendations 

You can find the rest of the videos from Paul Drinkwater's farm and more on the Black-grass Task Force video series here.

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More insight & guidance on black-grass control