As part of the Black-Grass Resistance Initiative (BGRI), a team at Newcastle University are deploying cutting edge research to understand and combat the spread of this highly invasive and damaging weed. Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) the underpinning science has been developed in partnership with Rothamsted Research, Sheffield and York Universities and the Institute of Zoology.

A prototype ‘pregnancy-test’ style device has been developed, working with diagnostics company Mologic, that detects a protein found in populations of Black Grass that have evolved resistance to multiple classes of herbicides. The test takes just 15 minutes to work and is sensitive enough to detect the protein in the early stages of Black-Grass growth, the aim is to help farmers make more informed management decisions early in the crop cycle and prevent costly losses later on.