Novel research project wins BASIS Paul Singleton award

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A forward-thinking research project, that has scope to play a part in the fight against blackgrass, has seen Jamie Stotzka win the highly-regarded BASIS ‘Paul Singleton Project of the Year Award’.

The consultant bioagronomist was presented with her award at Cereals and explains that her study focused on the effect of microbial inoculants on the growth and development of blackgrass.

“From working in the industry, it’s clear that blackgrass is a major issue, costing farms up to £134/ha[1]to control, before accounting for any further crop losses,” says Jamie.

“So, I used the project element of my BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection to find out whether the microbial inoculants that I work with in my role at PlantWorks Ltd. could play a key part in an integrated approach to tackle the aggressive weed.”

Jamie explains that her research was formed of two sections. “The first was designed to monitor whether arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can help cover crops to outcompete and suppress blackgrass growth.

“My second experiment approached the problem from a different angle, this time using plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR),” she adds.

“I wanted to find out whether PGPR could stimulate the early germination and growth of blackgrass to minimise the threat to winter sown crops. In theory this could mean that the entire population of blackgrass seeds germinate in the autumn, before spraying off to provide a clean seedbed to drill the next crop.”

The results of both trials were positive, with the first test that used AMF clearly showing an increase in biomass of the cover crop, with potential to outcompete weeds. The PGPR encouraged an early flush of blackgrass in the autumn, suggesting reduced pressure during the following growing season.

She highlights that NIAB has shown a great interest in her work. “I presented my findings to the team, and they’re going to build on my research with PGPR, as my trials provided a good grounding for a potential solution to the blackgrass problem.”

Jamie adds that she is delighted with the award, that was judged against 10 other leading BASIS projects, out of 250 submitted. “It’s tremendous that such a novel subject has been recognised for this key industry award, I feel extremely honoured and hope my findings can help farmers in the future.”

Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, explains that Jamie is a worthy winner and highlights how her project stepped away from the norm with a clear aim to enhance the industry.

“As always the standard of projects was exceptional, but Jamie’s high level of detail and strong Integrated Crop Management focus stood out to the judging panel.”



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