Rag-Fork, a family firm based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has teamed up with the British Horse Society (BHS) to collect data on ragwort as part of the first survey of its kind in the UK.

The BHS wants everyone involved with horses to log on to their online survey during Ragwort Awareness Week — 12-18 July.

Respondents will be asked to provide information on where they have spotted the weed, the density of growth and approximately how many animals (including sheep, cattle and horses) are grazing in the immediate vicinity.

“It will only take five minutes to complete the survey and if people could spot this noxious weed and let us know, they will be making a valuable contribution to our horses’ future,” said Lee Hackett of the BHS.

Data will be collected in the same week in coming years so the charity can establish trends in the growth and spread of the killer plant.

People taking part in the survey also have the chance to win themselves one of 50 Rag-Forks.

The Rag-Fork was devised in 2000 by Derrick Marsden who was involved with breeding, exhibiting and competing with horses and ponies for more than 30 years.

Recognising the increasing danger that ragwort poses to horses and other livestock, he decided that there had to be a better way to remove ragwort than pulling it by hand.

Faced with this task, he spent many months developing and testing a wide range of prototypes, which resulted in the development of the Rag-Fork.

In 2001 the Rag-Fork it was ‘highly commended’ by BETA in their Product Awards.

To access the survey go to www.bhs.org.uk.