Dowerin field days: Book launched to bump brassicas

27 Aug, 2008 06:18 PM
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Western Australian farmers have a new weapon for managing Australia's worst broadleaf weed of winter cropping systems, wild radish, which costs agriculture millions in lost production each year.

WA Department of Agriculture and Food director general, Ian Longson, has launched the new publication 'Managing wild radish and other brassicaceous weeds in Australian cropping systems' at the Dowerin GWN Machinery Field Days.

Mr Longson said the book produced by the CRC for Australian Weed Management, was dedicated to combating wild radish, but also provided options for managing other brassicaceous weeds including charlock, turnip weed and Indian hedge mustard.

"Prompted by mounting cases of herbicide resistance in brassicaceous weeds, this 86-page publication pulls together the latest research information and presents management tactics within an integrated framework that combines chemical and non-chemical methods of control," he said.

Mr Longson said although the book had a national focus, it included substantial contributions from weed scientists from the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

"With the widespread and rapid development of herbicide resistance, especially in WA, the management of wild radish has become increasingly complex," he said.

Dr Aik Cheam from Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, is the book's principal author and a leading authority on brassicaceous weed management.

Dr Cheam said in Western Australia, resistance to herbicides in up to three mode-of-action (MOA) groups has been documented in a limited number of wild radish populations, while resistance to two MOA groups is becoming common across the northern wheatbelt.

"The management tactics in the book focus on the various parts of the weed lifecycle and aim to keep the pressure on the weed seedbank," he said.

"We've found that preventing surviving weeds from setting seed is critical to avoid replenishment of the weed seedbank, and to prevent the spread of herbicide-resistant brassicaceous weeds."

The free publication is targeted at agronomists, farmers, researchers, land managers and their advisors and is available in hard copy or electronically.

* Details are available on the Weeds CRC website at www.weedscrc.org.au/projects/proj ect_2_2_3_3.html

Copies will also be available from the Department of Agriculture and Food shed at the Dowerin GWN Machinery Field Days.

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