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To develop an environmentally beneficial field-scale arable option for reducing blackgrass incidence. - LM0101

Description
The overall aim is to develop an arable agri-environment option that will be attractive to farmers because it helps them reduce blackgrass populations which are becoming increasingly resistant to herbicides. At the moment, the standard method for contolling blackgrass is repeated spraying and cultivating which has adverse consequences for biodiversity, resource protection and, ultimatley, climate change. It is proposed to trial species-rich seed mixes and so provide a break in cropping so that blackgrass populations will not establish; they would be managed by cutting. The exact species composition of the mixes has not been finalised but is likely to have benefits for pollinators, other invertebrates and birds. It is anticipated that farmers will be attracted to an option that provides them with a control method for blackgrass but also payments to cover the break in cropping and the cost of the seed mixes. The reuslts of this study may inform the development of an option that delivers this.
Objective
The aim of this study is to develop a series of environmentally sustainable crop-fallow rotations that provide both environmental and agronomic benefits. This will be achieved by addressing the following objectives:

1) Establish and monitor a field-scale experiment to quantify the effects of duration and type of non-crop fallow on; a) biodiversity; b) selected ecosystem services; c) weed control, and d) crop productivity compared with continuous arable cropping (Funder: Defra);

2) Use the experimental site to promote knowledge transfer between researchers and practitioners (farmers, advisors, scientists, scheme administrators) though training days and workshops
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2016

Cost: £202,222
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Keywords