New study aims to curb the threat of blackgrass weed
A new study to tackle Ireland's most problematic weeds is to commence this autumn.
Teagasc, along with the Irish Seed Trade Association, is funding research into the four most difficult weeds for cereal farmers: sterile brome, blackgrass, canary grass, and the ubiquitous wild oat.
"I've seen crops being wiped out by these types of weeds, and the shame about it is that it can all be avoided if the farmer reacts early enough," said Teagasc tillage specialist, Tim O'Donovan.
Weeds such as blackgrass are a potential nightmare for farmers because they are resistant to almost every type of herbicide that cereal growers routinely rely on.
"I wouldn't go as far as describing them as super-weeds because they can be controlled but it's a problem that farmers can do without," said Mr O'Donovan.
"Blackgrass is resistant to everything except glyphosate, and so it has got to the stage where it has wiped out crops in the UK.
"It's actually been found in pockets of northeast Leinster for many years, but farmers would still need to be very vigilant about introducing it to their farms.
"One of the biggest risks is the importation of straw, seed or machinery from the UK.