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Black-grass resistance testing advice (press release)

Cambridge, 10th July 2012

 

Resistance testing black-grass seed may deliver misleading results and could make the problem worse, says Bayer CropScience, unless growers pay close attention to gathering seed correctly.

 

While testing seed can provide important management information, such as confirming which active substances are affected and whether resistance is target-site, enhanced metabolism (EM) or both, a false sample could do more harm than good.

 

“These are expensive tests to undertake, both in terms of time and money” says Ben Giles, commercial technical manager at Bayer CropScience. “But done well, they are a useful part of the strategy for managing grass-weeds.

 

“However, to do them well, you must take an accurate sample,” he stresses.

 

According to Mr Giles, common failures include taking seed only from plants around the field edge or from only one spot in the field; forcing unripe seed from the head; and sending damp seed to the lab.

 

“If the tests don’t work, because you’ve sent non-viable seed, then you’ll have wasted your money.

 

“But if the sample isn’t representative of the field population, then there’s the possibility that you won’t know the complete resistance profile, and so unwittingly select for another generation of resistant plants by again using the active substances that are causing the problem,” he warns.

 

“To get a representative sample, walk a ‘w’ shape across the entire black-grass patch or field taking seed as you go,” Mr Giles advises.  “Don’t just walk up and down the tramlines as you won’t get a representative sample.  By sampling from only one spot, it wouldn’t be unusual to find out that the seeds collected had the same parent plant one or two seasons ago.”

 

Tapping the seed head in a clean plastic container (such as a plastic pint glass) is the best way to collect seed.  “If they fall off on their own then they are ripe,” explains Mr Giles. “It’s ok to gently brush your fingers along the head but don’t dig in a fingernail to strip all the seeds off; these seeds won’t be ripe or viable and the test won’t work.”

 

Remember that because of the weather conditions we have had this spring, blackgrass seed may be delayed in maturing and the best time to sample could be one or two weeks later than in dry seasons.

 

Mr Giles says the tests work best on dry seed.  “It is quite possible this season that seed may be damp when sampled; if so place in a shallow open container and allow the seeds to air-dry.  Always use a paper envelope, rather than a plastic bag when sending the sample.”

 

Finally, Mr Giles says it’s important to give the labs as much information as you can.  “Fill out all detail requested on the sample form as completely as possible – this will allow for better analysis of the sample and more tailored recommendations when interpreting the results.

 

“Just remember, however, that while resistance testing provides some really useful information that can be used to put together weed control programmes suited to your own circumstances, it only delivers you a snapshot of part of your weed seed bank at one point in time. These are, after all, seeds collected from plants that have survived a herbicide programme.”

 

For more advice on resistance testing please see the recent WRAG leaflet “The benefits of herbicide resistance testing”, which can be found at: http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/Resources/CRD/Migrated-Resources/Documents/W/Benefits%20of%20herbicide%20resistance%20testing%20leaflet%20June%202012.pdf

 

[Bullet point box] Resistance testing advice

 

  • Walk a ‘W’ shape across black-grass patch or field to collect seed
  • Don’t just take seed from one area of patch or field
  • Tap seed head into dry pastic container
  • Don’t strip heads – test doesn’t work with unripe seed
  • If seed is damp, air dry in open container
  • Send in paper envelope
  • Fill in form details as comprehensively as possible

 

 

 

-ends-

 

10TH July 2012

 

For further information:

Issued by:

Tim Holt

Natalie Reed

Bayer CropScience

Whisper.pr

+44 (0)1223 226623           

+44 (0)1608 637805

tim.holt@bayer.com

natalie.reed@whisper.pr

 

 

Find more information at www.bayercropscience.co.uk.

 

About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 7.255 billion (2011), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 21,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at: www.press.bayercropscience.com.

 

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conformthem to future events or developments.