Nuffield Scholar Richard Hinchliffe's newly-published report on tackling the problem of global herbicide resistance says that relying on herbicides alone has contributed to the widespread herbicide resistance problems that we are seeing today. This is because herbicides in the past were highly effective. cheap and easy to use.

Mr Hinchliffe said: "If you look at the problem simply, herbicide resistance is nature's way of telling us herbicides alone are not sustainable and introducing more diverse weed control methods is required to disrupt the weed's life cycle."

His study tour took him to USA, Australia and Argentina as well as the UK. USA was chosen because it is seen by many to be the home of glyphosate, genetic modification technology, and vast acres of just corn and soybeans. Australia has world-class herbicide resistance problems, while export quotas and tariffs on certain crops in Argentina has led to over 60 per cent of cropping land being placed in soybean production and the rapid development of herbicide resistance in a number of weeds.

Mr Hinchliffe found that farmers and agronomists were actively looking for better ways of dealing with herbicide resistance, with the momentum moving to more cultural control of weeds rather than relying on synthetic chemistry. This is particularly important since no new herbicidal mode of action has been discovered for over 20 years, and even if a new mode of action was discovered today it would take many years to work its way through the regulatory process before reaching the market.

On the value of effective communication in dealing with resistance Mr hinchliffe says: "This starts with effectively communicating new research on herbicide resistance in a format that farmers and agronomists can understand, right through to farmer-to-farmer discussion groups where sharing and finding solutions as a collective is really working."

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd had 4158 store and breeding sheep forward at Ayr on Thursday that included their annual Blackface ewe sale that sold to £84 per head twice for two pens off both of Messrs Andrew Paton & Co's, Largs and Craig units at Straiton. The 1316 BF ewes sold averaged £60.61 (-£10.67 on the year). There were also 631 Blackface gimmers that sold to £147 and averaged £100.07 (+£4.70).

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold 3164 prime lambs in Longtown on Thursday to a top of £103 per head and 228p per kg to average 170p (-3.4p on the week).

A much larger show of 5897 cast sheep saw heavy ewes average £72.84 (+£3.62), while light ewes levelled at £41.40 (+£3.09).