Nuggets of Weed KnowledgeHi, my name is Harry Strek and I am the scientific director of Bayer’s Weed Resistance Competence Center in Frankfurt, Germany. Some call me the “weed hunter” – a very dramatic description of my work, I know. But the issue of how weeds impact our food production system is indeed very dramatic. That’s why I have decided to explain more about weeds and how to best control them. In a series of video podcasts!
Red poppies, blue cornflowers, white chamomile – weeds are often very pleasing to the eye. Don’t let this fool you! I took the picture below while I was traveling through Northern Germany. It shows a wheat field – can you imagine? Poppies have taken over nearly the entire field and left no room for the crops to grow. Worldwide, there are about 30,000 weed species that all compete with crops for light, water, nutrients and space. They pose a real threat to our food supplies and could cause yield losses of over 50 percent if they remain uncontrolled. Also, weeds are incredibly adaptable. I have seen farmers who have had to give up their whole fields, and even farms, because they were invaded by what I call “monster weeds”. These are weeds that have become so big and aggressive that they cannot be controlled anymore, often because they have developed resistance to herbicides.
As a scientist I have learned to consider every problem a challenge. Weeds, with their capacity to quickly adapt, become resistant, and thus destroy our food supplies, are one of the most pressing challenges in agriculture, even in society. I want to help solve this issue! And I encourage many others to take up weed science and join me in hunting those weeds that threaten farmers’ livelihoods and, in the end, our food production. Agriculture is a very exciting place to be working right now, with plenty of research needed in weed management and field production technologies, digital technologies, and using the latest biochemical, genetic and molecular biology tools to find out how things tick and guide us to novel solutions. We urgently need more innovation to make agriculture even more sustainable as the world population grows to more than 9 billion by 2050.
is the scientific director of Bayer’s Weed Resistance Competence Center and a strong promoter of Integrated Weed Management (IWM), a sustainable approach to weed control.
This is why I have decided to explain more of what I do as a scientist, why it is relevant, and how it benefits others. In order to make weed science more appealing to you, I have decided to serve it up in small digestible portions (you can imagine that this is quite a challenge for a scientist, it goes against our nature). So, my colleagues and I came up with the idea of creating a podcast called “Nuggets of Weed Knowledge”. Here, I’ll take you basically through everything you need to know about weed control, weed resistance and integrated weed management.
In the video below, you’ll get a taste of what the podcasts are like. Nuggets 1 and 2 are already available for you on our YouTube channel. I hope you’ll like them and I am happy to hear what you think in the comments below. Also, feel free to share your experiences!