Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

A review of ragwort (Senecio spp.) and its control with particular reference to horses - BD2003

Description
Senecio jacobaea (common ragwort) is currently one of the most publicised weed problems due to the success of recent awareness campaigns mounted by equine welfare organisations and the country Landowners’ Association. It is listed as an injurious weed under the Weeds Act 1959 because of its toxicity to grazing animals particularly horses and cattle. Ragwort commonly occurs in non-intensive grassland, amenity grassland and non-cropped land. Under the Weeds Act 1959 occupiers of land where ragwort occurs have an obligation to prevent it spreading to neighbouring agricultural land. Failure to do so can result in prosecution under the Act. Land used for equine enterprises is not always covered by the Act as it is only when agricultural production is threatened by ragwort that the Act becomes enforcible. Farmers are, however, being encouraged to diversify into equine related enterprises, such as livery/grazing or hay and haylage production, as a means of supplementing income. Those farmers who do diversify into equine enterprises need to be aware of the potential danger of ragwort to horses.

This study seeks to evaluate the problem of Senecio spps. within current land use practices and determine the potential risk which may result from changes in land use policies. Methods of risk reduction will be assessed by reviewing current management strategies for control of ragwort. This will be accomplished by means of a literature study and a stakeholder consultation process, at the end of which information will be collated to produce comprehensive practical guidelines that can be used to implement control strategies.
Objective
1. To undertake a comprehensive literature review, covering all Senecio species to identify, where possible, the extent of the problem, information on the biology of ragwort, and to collate all current available methods of control and current grassland management practices.
2. To review current best practices and discuss practical problems and recommendations associated with ragwort control by holding a workshop of interested parties.
3. To produce practical guidelines on integrated ragwort control strategies suitable for grassland management practices of horse enterprises.
Project Documents
• Final Report : A review of ragwort (Senecio spp.) and its control with particular reference to horses   (43k)
• Final Report - Annex : A review of ragwort (Senecio spp.) and its control with particular reference to horses   (49k)
• Final Report - Annex : A review of ragwort (Senecio spp.) and its control with particular reference to horses   (505k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2001

To: 2001

Contractor / Funded Organisations
ADAS UK Ltd.
Keywords
              
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship