Meet a Member: Corteva Agriscience

Dr Nicola Perry, Weed Biology Specialist,

Corteva Agriscience

Corteva Agriscience is a new name in the amenity sector – but its herbicide products have been used on turf and on unwanted vegetation and invasive weeds for many years.

Icade and Garlon Ultra are leading selective herbicide control solutions for difficult woody weeds such as buddleia, brambles and Japanese knotweed. Blaster-Pro is a knapsack solution for use against nettles, docks, brambles, gorse and broom, and Synero is used on unwanted weeds such as ragwort on critical areas such as road embankments.

Corteva Agriscience is one of very few companies that has focused discovery and R&D effort to find solutions for controlling woody and invasive weeds.

It is a science-led company and its development pipeline looks promising, with new products to control hogweed and cow parsley and for cut stump treatments, looming.

There are also exciting developments regarding novel application techniques to watch out for too.

I joined Dow AgroSciences, before it became Corteva Agriscience, five years ago as a weed biology specialist. I was born and brought up on a small mixed farm near Usk in Monmouthshire and did a degree in Crop Science at the University of Reading, followed by a PhD in field margin management and crop production at Harper Adams.

I always enjoyed learning about weeds and trying to understand why they grow where they grow, and why they usually come back in the same place.

After university, I worked at Rothamstead Research at Harpenden, investigating weed patch dynamics in arable fields. After this I worked at ADAS Boxworth in Cambridgeshire carrying out weed research.

Following a break to have my children (James now 16 and Emma 13), I spotted an advert in the Farmers Weekly for a technical services specialist at herbicide manufacturer Dow AgroSciences – and knew it was the perfect job for me!

I am now regarded as the weed biology specialist, mainly for agricultural and amenity grassland. It is my job to write the technical content for the website, technical literature and newsletters written for agronomists and technical managers, anyone who has responsibility for deciding which herbicides to use – when, where and how. I am also the ‘face’ grassland weed control in magazine articles for farmers and in the amenity sector. I represent Corteva Agriscience on the British Crop Production Council (BCPC) Weeds Group.

I also man the Technical Hotline two to three times a week where we take calls from anyone with an immediate weed or herbicide query – by telephone or email. This can get very busy with 30 or more calls a day in the summer.

My husband, Martin also works in the amenity sector, working his way up over the past 20 years to become regional manager for John O’Connor Grounds Maintenance.

These are exciting times in our industry – as the weeds keep growing and amenity managers are constantly looking for new ideas and products to help them tackle them. I hope I can play my part in helping them achieve this.