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Ryegrass trials site up and running in Yorkshire

Innovation Centres
Andy Cunningham at Syngenta Ryegrass Focus Site 2019

This season’s incredibly difficult drilling conditions have had an impact on establishing the Syngenta Ryegrass Innovation Centre, near Doncaster in Yorkshire. But, despite four times the average rainfall since September, the plots are in with the trials up and underway, reports trials manager, Andy Cunningham.

Watch Andy’s first report from this season’s Ryegrass Innovation Centre

Although there has been some adaptation to the original plans, the conditions are going to test weed management techniques in a new set of ways, Andy pointed out.

That will include what is believed to be the largest replicated pre-em grassweed herbicide screening of its kind in the UK – involving nine active ingredients. It will give visitors to the site the first chance to see the performance of a new herbicide, alongside existing options and combinations.

“Last year the best performing mix, by far, was flufenacet + DFF (Liberator at 0.6 l/ha), plus Defy at 5.0 l/ha,” reported Andy.

“This year that winning combination will be trialled alongside Defy on its own, and a whole host of other options.” With crops under such stress of compromised conditions at drilling, one of the key assessments will be looking at crop safety of herbicide mixes at higher rates.

Plot drilling at Syngenta Ryegrass Focus Site 2019

Other trials will look at the potential role of herbicide stickers, aiming to hold active in the target area for longer. Application techniques to optimise herbicide performance have been a key finding from previous years’ work.

“One of the fears was that with such wet weather and the seedbed conditions, the effects of pre-emergence applications may have been compromised,” he said.

“In fact, results to date appear to have been reassuringly good.”

Ryegrass seedlings emerging at Syngenta Ryegrass Focus Site 2019

High populations of ryegrass have emerged on the untreated reference plots (above), with the crop beginning to emerge some four weeks after drilling (below) – which has been a relief after the risk of seed rotting. The trials also include some seed treatment comparisons.

Crop emergence after four weeks at Syngenta Ryegrass Focus Site 2019

This season, for the first time, the site has also introduced cultivation trials, to assess the effects of conventional plough establishment, against reduced tillage techniques, highlighted Andy. It will assess effects on crop establishment, soil health and ryegrass populations.      

Watch Andy’s first report from this season’s Ryegrass Innovation Centre

You can also follow all the latest news and updates from Andy and the Doncaster trials team on Twitter - #GrassweedDiaries