Integrated herbicides approach to tackle weeds

25 Feb, 2011 01:01 PM
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AN integrated research project is generating new strategies for integrated weed management to maintain herbicide options, minimise the risk of emerging weeds and improve yields.

The invaluable results will be discussed today at the Department of Agriculture and Food’s Agribusiness Crop Updates, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), later this month.

The collaborative project between the department, University of Adelaide and Curtin University, is supported by the GRDC and chemical companies.

The project is focused on the management of barley grass, brome grass and silver grass – weeds which extensive survey, as part of the research, found are increasing throughout the agriculture region.

Dr Hashem said with increasing reports of herbicide resistance and the availability of several weed control tools, it was important to examine how new herbicide options fitted into on-farm integrated weed management.

“Crop rotations have proved to be an effective means to suppress barley grass, as the herbicide associated with the crop will control some weeds more effectively than the others,” he said.

“When the barley grass population has built up substantially in a continuous wheat-wheat rotation, growing a lupin break crop can provide excellent suppression of barley grass. This will greatly reduce the barley grass head numbers in the wheat crop grown after the lupin crop by up to 90 per cent compared with a wheat-wheat rotation.”

The use of different sowing implements also had an impact on the effectiveness of all pre-seeding herbicides that control brome grass in wheat.

“When a crop was sown using a disc system in stubble, some pre-seeding herbicides caused more damage to the crop seedlings than others, as high rainfall occurred after sowing,” Dr Hashem said.

“However, when a knife point system was used, none of the pre-seeding herbicides caused crop damage. So if a farmer knows they are going to get rainfall and which herbicide is likely to be more toxic than the other, they can consider the sowing method or changing the chemical to protect their crop.”

Dr Hashem said this information, combined with the herbicide performance and yield data provided growers with valuable considerations in optimising crop profitability.

“Growers now have new herbicides with different modes of action to the existing products,” he said.

“These new herbicides can be incorporated into integrated weed management plans to diversify weed control options and reduce the risk of herbicide resistance developing.

“We’re not saying don’t use the existing products. The message is that rotating the new and existing products in association with other management options creates diversity and reduces the risk of herbicide resistance and new weed incursion, helping to boost yield potential.”

The Agribusiness Crop Updates 2011 are held on 23 and 24 February at Burswood in Perth. For more information visit www.agric.wa.gov.au .

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