The Fight Against Black-Grass – BREAKFAST SEMINAR at the Great Yorkshire Show

Driving forward improvements in agriculture and the battle to combat black-grass is the subject of a highly relevant seminar which will be held at next month’s Great Yorkshire Show.

NB: Image available to download at the bottom of release

Combatting this resilient and invasive weed is an issue on many farmers’ agendas so the chance to hear the latest research and tactics will come under the spotlight at the breakfast seminar on Thursday 16 July.

The event is being organised by the Farmer-Scientist Network which is run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. The Society is best known as the organiser of the Great Yorkshire Show. The Network is chaired by Prof Rob Edwards, Head of Agriculture at Newcastle University.

Prof Edwards said: “Black-grass is a serious threat to UK arable farming and in particular, to winter wheat production. Infestation currently affects 34 counties in England, predominantly in the east and south, but it is now moving north and into Yorkshire. There is reported herbicide resistance in over 16,000 farms so this has the potential of a national emergency in terms of winter wheat production.”

He added: “The seminar is an opportunity to hear the latest on ground breaking research towards the first steps in the control of this invasive weed and will provide farmers with the knowledge and long term planning tactics needed to deal with it.” 

The farmer’s perspective will be given by arable farmer Tom Allen-Stevens of Oxfordshire, whilst Dr Paul Neve, Senior Research Scientist , Rothamsted Research will address understanding resistance in black-grass and  Prof. Rob Freckleton, of the University of Sheffield, speaking on its affects in the North of England. There will also be opportunities for questions

The seminar runs from 8:15am - 9:30am, on Thursday 16 July  and takes place at the Regional Agricultural Society’s offices at the Great Yorkshire Showground. For more details and to register please contact Holly Jones, Farmer-Scientist Network on 01423 546251 or email


15 June, 2015

Media Contact: Judy Thompson, PR Manager, Yorkshire Agricultural Society or 01423 546215

If you wish to apply for press passes to the Great Yorkshire Show, please complete the online application form on our website, by 8thJuly 2015 -

Prof Rob Edwards, Chair of the Farmer-Scientist Network

Rob is the newly appointed Chair of the Farmer-Scientist Network following the retirement of Prof Dianna Bowles earlier this month. He is well positioned to take the vision of the FSN forwards, not least due to his many successes in leading programmes to ensure science achieves practical benefits for society. He was appointed to the Head of Agriculture at Newcastle in March last year. In a very short time has already achieved immense success, not least :-

-  leading the £3.5 million AHDB/BBSRC National Black grass herbicide initiative 

-  becoming Research Director of a new joint institute involving Newcastle University and Fera Science Ltd, with £9 million already committed

-  providing the science lead for the successful £16 million Catalyst Bid for the N8 Universities to HEFCE “Food Security Technologies’

-  providing primary co-ordinator role of the N8 Agritech bid to BIS Agricultural Systems technology innovation centre

-  acting as Deputy Chair of the BBSRC Agriculture and Food Security Strategy Panel


The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was formed in 1837 and is a charity dedicated to supporting the farming industry and rural life. This ranges from educational initiatives to the Society’s Nuffield Scholarships to hosting the Yorkshire Rural Support Network and Future Farmers of Yorkshire. The Society is based at the Regional Agricultural Centre, Harrogate; the RAC includes Fodder, the Society’s award winning regional food shop and café which opened in June 2009.

The Society is the organiser of the annual farming and country showcase, the Great Yorkshire Show and its sister event, Countryside Live. Both take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire and are flagship events for agriculture and rural life. 


About Us

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was formed in 1837 and is a charity dedicated to supporting the farming industry and rural life. Best known for staging the annual Great Yorkshire Show, England's Premier Agricultural event and Countryside Live, it's sister event. The value of the support it provides to regional farming and countryside initiatives has risen year on year to nearly £1m. The 2016 Great Yorkshire Show runs from Tuesday 12 – Thursday 14 July and Countryside Live is on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October 2016. Both take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire and are flagship events for agriculture and rural life. The Society plays a key role in supporting rural life, through grants, sponsorships and has a very active education department which runs a wide range of activities aimed at increasing the knowledge of young people and their teachers about the important role farmers play in producing our food and caring for the landscape. An important date on the annual calendar is the annual Countryside Days event when thousands of primary school children use the showground as a resource for learning. In June 2009, the Society also opened its Regional Agricultural Centre at the showground which will be a focus for excellence for the industry, as well as the new home of the Society. Yorkshire Event Centre Limited (YEC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Society and all YEC’s profits go to fund its charitable work. Who's Who in the Yorkshire Agricultural SocietyChairman: Simon TheakstonPresident: Sarah YorkPresident Elect: Lord MiddletonChief Executive: Nigel Pulling