A new on-farm diagnostic tool identifies herbicide resistance in blackgrass, an invasive grass weed that can have significant impact on arable crop yields.
Diagnostics specialist Mologic has developed the tool in collaboration with the UK’s Newcastle University, where pioneering research on chemical control of the weed has been backed by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the grower levy-funded Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
Blackgrass (Alopecurus myosuroides) is an annual grass that has become a significant weed species in temperate cereal crops in Western Europe with the move from regular ploughing to reduced tillage systems, suppression of broadleaf weeds in continuous cereals, and the move away from burning of stubbles. It is listed as a noxious weed in the US state of Washington, where winter wheat is a major crop, and is a threat to the productivity of continuous cereal growing in high-input systems due to its propensity to evolve resistance to herbicides.
Mologic’s blackgrass resistance diagnostic (BReD) detects glutathione transferase (AmGSTF1) concentrations, which are found in populations of the weed that have evolved resistance to multiple classes of herbicides. If the AmGSTF1 protein is present in a blackgrass tissue sample, an intense red band appears in a small window on the hand-held device within 5 minutes, in contrast to current testing methods that require seeds or plants to be sent off site for herbicide screening.
Mologic and the Newcastle University research team say the BReD kit allows farmers and agronomists to map non-target site herbicide resistance in blackgrass populations to help formulate control strategies and provide rapid feedback on their effectiveness.
The five-test kit is priced £39.99 (including EU VAT).
Type: Blackgrass resistance diagnostics tool
Key feature: Provides an indication of non-target site herbicide resistance in blackgrass populations within five minutes; enables more extensive resistance mapping and monitoring, and quicker control strategy response than lab-based screening.
More info: www.mologic-bred.co.uk