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Teagasc launch grass weed identification videos

Teagasc have launched a series of videos to aid farmers and industry to identify the most important grass weeds found in tillage crops.

These videos are part of a wider project called Enable Conservation Tillage (ECT) project which is a Department of Agriculture funded European Innovation Partnership project. The videos, which can be viewed at https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/crops/grass-weeds/identification-and-biology/ address the common problem of misidentification of weeds, especially when small. When the weed is accurately identified the farmers can put in place the best measures to tackle these weeds on farm.

Grass weeds present a major challenge on many tillage farms and can be particularly difficult to control in non-inversion tillage system. These videos provide the viewers with all the necessary information to accurately identify four of the main grass weeds which include; blackgrass, lesser canary grass, sterile brome and wild oats.

Michael Hennessy, Teagasc, and Leader of the Enable Conservation Tillage (ECT) project, said; “The ECT team have run numerous workshops with farmers and the industry over the past couple of years and they have brought this experience to the videos by focusing on the visual aspects which most help in identification of these grass weeds.” 

There are six short videos in the series which brings the viewer through the essential tools needed and how to go about identifying grass weeds. The videos visually step the viewer through the main characteristics to look for when trying to identify a grass weed.

Dedicated videos are included to cover the key identifying characteristics of blackgrass, lesser canary grass, sterile brome and wild oats in a step by step guide that will allow people to confidently identify these problematic weeds. 

The team produced a bonus video which highlights how arable grass margins can be used to combat sterile brome and prevent it encroaching into farmers’ fields from the field margins.  These margins are regarded as an excellent Integrated Pest Management tool which also has many benefits for biodiversity.

ECT Project advisor, Jimmy Staples said; “Grass weed identification was highlighted by both farmers and agronomists as an area which more information was needed and these videos will help to fill that knowledge gap.” Jimmy continued; “We have seen an increase in the blackgrass population in Ireland in the last few years. Accurate and early identification is crucial to preventing this and other grass weeds from becoming an issue in the future.”

The videos can be accessed on the Teagasc Crops YouTube channel