Tillage Farming’s Big Challenge - Upcoming Event - Agrii - Connecting Agri-science with farming

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October 19, 2015

Tillage Farming’s Big Challenge – Upcoming Event

The combination of reduced tillage (min-till, no-till), blackgrass emergence and herbicide resistance has led to a crisis situation for many UK tillage farmers. This is not just a UK problem and is symptomatic of a major challenge facing global agriculture. Considerable research has been undertaken internationally on these issues, no more so than in the USA where both research and practice provide a unique insight on how to manage this global and UK problem. Research at the University of Tennessee (USA) combined with on-farm practices provide useful indicators for the UK. Indeed, the variations in soils, topography, climate and farming practices across the State have parallels with the UK with respect to the impact of reduced tillage systems and the emergence of herbicide resistant weeds, such as blackgrass.

This is a unique opportunity to hear a leading expert on the subject from the USA, Professor Mueller. He will be joined by a panel of experts and farmers from the UK who will present their interpretation of the relevance of the American experience to UK tillage.

Dr Thomas C Mueller is Professor Plant Sciences at the University of Tennessee. His research team specialises in crop production systems with specific focus on two themes:

  1. the environmental fate of pesticides (especially herbicides) in soils, water systems, and in the air (via drift);
  2. the categorisation and control of herbicide-resistant weeds (mainly to glyphosate).

Professor Mueller will present research work and on-farm production-scale experiences from Tennessee, USA, and discusses their translation to the UK. Topics include:

  1. Weed resistance is a major challenge to broad-acre crop production. The TN experience with several “driver” weeds (Conyza, Amaranthus, etc.) can be directly related to the UK’s “driver” weed blackgrass.
  2. Geographical variations: parallels exist between UK and TN with respect to gradients in rainfall (traversing east to west), and how agricultural production is concentrated, with larger farmers tending to be on one side of the country/State.
  3. Reduced tillage (and associated reductions in soil erosion) is playing an increasing role in production – and the interaction between Min-Till, No-Till and HR weeds is of particular concern.
  4. A more urban population places regulatory pressures on pesticides, a desire to reduce amounts used, etc., which are common issues in both countries.
  5. However, there are marked differences between blackgrass and some of the Tennessee HR weeds, and much can also be learned by contrasting the systems.
  6. Managing the herbicide dose: The concept of proactive versus reactive weed management will be presented – farmers need to consider the “dose discussion”, meaning “do I use a full herbicide rate and try to avoid future resistance or a lower rate and thus allow some weeds to escape control?”

View the full event invite here: Invite – Tillage Farming’s Biggest Challenge