HERBICIDES other than glyphosate to control summer weeds and for pre-cropping knockdown treatments will be explored as part of a new, two-year project.
The project, funded by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), will evaluate the effectiveness of single herbicides that already have Australian registration and potential herbicide mixtures.
DPIRD project lead and research scientist Alex Douglas said there were several reasons to explore long-term weed control options to ensure future weed control measures.
"Many landholders are currently busy treating paddocks with glyphosate to control summer weeds, after the recent rainfall, as it's relatively inexpensive, reliable and safe to use," Ms Douglas said.
"However, it is not uncommon to apply glyphosate to a paddock four or more times a year, which could lead to the risk of herbicide resistance, which was first confirmed in Australia 25 years ago.
"There are also ongoing concerns about the perceived risk of glyphosate to human health, the environment and non-target areas, possibly impacting our future social license to farm and market access."
Three potential herbicides have already been identified for inclusion in the project, including pyraflufen-ethyl, flumioxazin and glufosinate, with others likely to be added.
The project will also examine the potential to mix herbicides to act as spikes to improve control.
"A literature review has already commenced to examine what is already known about how these herbicides perform and other alternative chemistry that could be included for further testing," Ms Douglas said.
"We will initiate some small scale, glasshouse experiments later this year before establishing some field trials at our Northam and Wongan Hills Research Facilities next year to test different herbicides and mixtures."
A best practice guide for summer weed management will be produced by the end of the project on how to optimise the use of the various herbicide options.
Summer weed control is well underway across the grainbelt, with landholders reminded to keep watch for and treat the particularly serious weeds, cottonbush, fleabane and goose foot.
Weeds not only deplete soil moisture and crop productivity, they can also create a green bridge to harbour pests and diseases that can become a problem in spring.