Weed control a big part of 2022 plans

By Shannon Beattie
December 26 2021 - 2:00am
Weed control a big part of 2022 plans

WITH harvest starting to draw to a close in some locations around Western Australia, growers are turning their attention to 2022.

Many factors are on on farmers' minds and while fertiliser prices have been the most talked about topics of conversation, growers are also turning their attention to crop rotations and summer weed control plans.

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Speaking on the WeedSmart podcast, Nutrien Ag Solutions agronomist Bernie Quade, who is based in Wyalkatchem, said a lot of people were still talking about canola given where the commodity prices were.

"There is a recipe starting to develop in the central Wheatbelt to growing profitable canola," Mr Quade said.

"That recipe involves growing tough hybrids, planting them early, giving them plenty of nitrogen and addressing any soil constraints that you've got.

"Addressing those key areas really helps lift canola yield from acceptable level up to the next notch where the really good profits are made."

Based on that, Mr Quade anticipates that growers will continue to put more of a focus on improving their subsoil, especially given the encouraging results from those who are making capital investments in soil amelioration.

"Those yield results are spurring those farmers to continue that program, whether it be ripping through compaction or liming both top and subsoil to counter pH issues," he said.

"They're focusing on removing those subsoil constraints that limit yield and therefore profit and the good results are encouraging them to carry on."

Immediately around the Wyalkatchem area, there has not been a lot of summer rain so far, with only 10 millimetres falling in November.

Based on that very little weeds have germinated in the stubble paddocks or those that are still in crop, however fallow and spray top pastures have had a germination of summer weeds, which have already started to be addressed.

Elsewhere in the Wheatbelt, especially those areas which have received plenty of rain during harvest, summer weed control has already jumped to the front of mind.

Mr Quade said there were external factors, such as high herbicide cost and potential reduction in supply, that growers would also be thinking about.

"There's a reason we use the chemistry we do on our weeds, so I don't think there will be any major changes to the way we spray our weeds over this summer," he said.

"If anything, there is probably an appetite to get stuck into them a bit earlier so that we can potentially use lower rates.

"There are weeds that have germinated already - such as windmill grass or fleabane - that really do need to be controlled early otherwise they become really difficult to control."

When it comes to weed control, given the high herbicide costs, trying to avoid high rates of knockdown herbicides is likely going to be top of everyone's mind this summer.

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