Growers struggling with grassweed control are invited to take part in a new farmer-led project.

The call is for ‘Seed Scouts’ – farmers who’ll monitor and sample grassweeds in their crop as harvest approaches. Those interested should register for a webinar, hosted by the British On-Farm Innovation Network (BOFIN) on 18 May.

The study is part of a harvest weed seed control (HWSC) trial. Those taking part will receive tailored information on the likely level of efficacy of HWSC, which opens up a new chemical-free form of grassweed control to help reduce dependence on glyphosate.

First of its kind survey

As well as sending their samples to NIAB for analysis, Seed Scouts will also be taking part in the UK’s first farmer-led survey of grassweeds left standing at harvest.

NIAB’s Will Smith says the only way HWSC will work is if the seeds are available to the machinery at harvest. “We currently know little about how much viable seed goes into the combine – there’s very limited work on this in the UK and Europe,” he says.

Seed Control Unit

Also revealed during the webinar will be plans for further on-farm trials of the Redekop Seed Control Unit (SCU) that will take place on a number of UK sites this harvest.

Adam Driver, of Driver Farms in Suffolk, is leading the project and had an SCU fitted to his Claas Lexion 8800 last year. This follows a controlled traffic farming system, he explains.

“We’ve been worried about the build-up of blackgrass in the strips behind the combine, and from the first year’s results, it looks as if the SCU is generally doing what we want it to.

“One of the main reasons we got the SCU is to stop brome and ryegrass before they become a problem like blackgrass. The other noticeable difference has been far fewer volunteers in the following crop. This is important for malting barley following wheat, and for milling wheat after spring barley.”

Testing protocol

Adam also sampled his grassweeds to test the seed-sampling protocol developed by NIAB. “It’s fairly straightforward and something any farmer can do. What amazed us was just how much viable blackgrass seed was still standing at harvest.”

During the webinar Adam will share experiences from last harvest and discuss what he’s looking to gain from this year’s trial. Will Smith will talk through how to sample crops, the help provided to Seed Scouts and how the trials will be run with the SCU.

Trevor Thiessen of Redekop Manufacturing will join the discussion from Canada, offering further insight.

Sign up

For more information and to sign up for the webinar, visit