The Talisman low input experiments 1990-1996

TALISMAN was series of experiments funded by the UK government and managed by ADAS at High Mowthorpe, Drayton and Boxworth between 1990 and 1996. Each site consisted of replicated small plots in which crops of cereals and breaks were grown at full and half doses of herbicides, fungicides, insect pesticides and fertiliser.

SCRI's contribution was initiated by Harry Lawson, now retired, and consisted of measuring the seedbank in high and reduced herbicide plots. The seedbank was measured by the extraction method from cores of soil taken before the treatments were applied and after three and six years. In some reduced herbicide treatments, the seedbank increased more than 100-fold after the six years. Treatments and sites were compared in terms of seedbank community parameters derived from species-accumulation and similar devices. The results contributed to the understanding of the seedbank's role as both the weed burden and the arable plant biodiversity.

Papers and reports

Squire, G.R., Roger, S., Wright, G. 2000. Community-scale seedbank responses to less intense rotation and reduced herbicide input. Annals of Applied Biology 136, 47-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.2000.tb00008.x

Squire, G.R., Roger, S., Wright, G. 2001. The impact of low-input herbicide use on weed seedbanks.  In: Reducing agrochemical use on the arable farm - the Talisman and Scarab projects, 85-99 (reference below)

Young, J.E.B., Griffin, M.J., Alford, D.V., Ogilvy, S.E. 2001. Reducing agrochemical use on the arable farm - the Talisman and Scarab projects. London: Defra, 416 pages. ISBN: 0-85521-002-8. This report on the Talisman and Scarab projects can be ordered from: ADAS Boxworth, Boxworth, Cambridge, CB3 8NN, UK