Potatoes: review of weed control options and future opportunities for UK crops


The report was published in 2019 and is a comprehensive literature review of weed control options, on a national and international level, that could benefit UK crop production in potatoes, horticultural crops, cereals and oilseeds, sugar beet, grassland, legumes and maize.

The options available for weed control were reviewed and their efficacy in different crops discussed. The final section highlights the weaknesses in the biology of key weed species and how these could be exploited for weed control.

The weed control options discussed include:

  • Cultural control – rotations (including livestock), tillage and cultivations (timing, depth), cultivations for seedbank manipulation, mechanical weeding, cover cropping, crop species and varietal choices (sensitivity, competitiveness, phenology), seed rates, row widths, crop competition (including manipulating N rates and timing) and drilling date (including autumn vs spring cropping).
  • Non-chemical control – physical weeding, thermal weeding, allelopathy, weed seed control 
  • Chemical control – precision application (including nozzle technology, drift reduction and cross contamination), bioherbicides, optimising use of existing chemistry, new chemistry, biopesticides, biological control, alternatives to glyphosate, weed wiping, crop desiccation, comments on future pesticide availability, herbicide resistance modelling, herbicide resistance diagnostics.

For potatoes, it was highlighted that mechanical weeding approaches need to be fast-tracked and improved information on canopy development and guidance technology is required. Herbicide evaluations also needed to be improved and should include assessments of variety sensitivity

Project code:
01 September 2018 - 31 January 2019
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:


11120044 Weed Review Final_2019