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Herbicide resistant weed could cost the United Kingdom £1 billion a year - Economic model addresses the costs of resistance in blackgrassqrcode

Dec. 24, 2019

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Dec. 24, 2019

Research by Rothamsted has helped put an economic figure on herbicide resistance in blackgrass, the farmland weed that is decimating winter-wheat yields across the UK.

Heralded as ‘Western Europe’s most economically significant weed’, herbicide resistant blackgrass is costing the UK economy nearly £400 million and 800,000 tonnes of lost harvest each year, with potential implications for national food security.

Published in Nature Sustainability, the study presents a new model which helps quantify the economic costs of the resistant weed and its impact on yield under various farming scenarios.

The worst-case scenario – where all fields have a high proportion of resistant black-grass – could result in an annual cost of £1 billion, with a wheat yield loss of 3.4 million tonnes per year.

The modelling was carried out by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) based on resistance assay research that was carried out by Rothamsted.

The simulation estimates the UK is currently losing 0.82 million tonnes in wheat yield each year (equivalent to roughly 5% of the UK’s domestic wheat consumption) due to herbicide resistant black-grass. This comes at a cost of £380 million per annum.

Source: Seed Quest

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