Join the cluster for insight on weed control

A group of UK farmers are taking part in a ground-breaking research project into a novel, chemical-free method of controlling tricky grassweeds at harvest.

The farmer-led project will put the Redekop Seed Control Unit (SCU) to the test over two years on three farms in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Suffolk. BOFIN members are invited to join a ‘knowledge cluster’ to hear first hand how the project progresses and help shape its development.

The Redekop SCU is a mill that’s fitted to the rear of the combine and processes the chaff, proven to kill up to 98% of weed seeds as they exit. Used extensively and successfully by farmers across North America and Australia, Redekop is now introducing the technology to Europe – the UK farmer-led project is the first to put the unit to the test in a maritime climate.

Potential benefits of the SCU include reduced herbicide usage and long-term reduction of weed seeds in the soil profile. It’s an option to control weeds during harvest – a window rarely used in the UK – particularly useful for those with herbicide resistance. It also reduces dependence on glyphosate.

As part of the project, weed specialists from NIAB will closely monitor populations of grassweeds such as meadow brome and ryegrass to get an accurate idea of efficacy under UK conditions.

Knowledge cluster

While just three units will be operating, more than 30 BOFIN members have expressed an interest in being involved in the project and have been invited into a cluster that will share results and other information to help shape how the project develops.

The units will be fitted, at no cost to the farmers, to a John Deere S790, New Holland CR9.90 and Claas 8800. At harvest, this will be brought in and out of operation in designated areas with weed population and subsequent germination closely monitored.

The farmers will also share their experiences with the cluster on what the SCU is like to operate, its benefits and costs. Engineers from Redekop will also come into the cluster and views will be sought from farmers operating the SCU in other countries.

BOFIN would welcome into the cluster any farmer genuinely interested in the project. You must be a BOFIN member, which is free to join and there’s no obligation.

There are plans for a webinar in May or early June to kick off activity for the Redekop Knowledge Cluster. Members of the cluster themselves will decide what happens thereafter.

For more details on the Redekop SCU, see our previous news item

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