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Herbicide stewardship pioneer named WeedSmart Legend

Mildura recently played host to WeedSmart Week – the flagship event that brings farmers, researchers, commercial companies and agronomists together to shine a light on the ever-challenging issue of herbicide resistance in weeds.

Jessica Strauss, WeedSmart’s project manager, said the 2022 event was a resounding success, having attracted 230 registrations from across the country for the forum day alone. “There was such positive engagement and feedback, particularly in response to the growers who shared their farming systems and weed management challenges and successes,” said Ms Strauss. “The farm visits and machinery displays continue to be popular as they allow growers to speak directly with manufacturers and growers who use the equipment and products.”

“While WeedSmart is primarily concerned with herbicide resistance management on grain farms, we recognise the importance of addressing the spread of weeds and resistant genes across the landscape,” she said. “Like many regions in Australia, the Mallee is home to a wide variety of crops, and practices on one farm can have far-reaching effects on neighbouring farms and sensitive crops.”

The GRDC’s Area Wide Weed Management project was the catalyst for WeedSmart to deliver a weed control event for the Sunraysia horticultural industry as part of WeedSmart Week 2022. Over 80 people attended the horticultural event, with the discussion centred on the biological control of fleabane, the benefits of pre-emergent herbicides and effective spray technology for orchards, in line with the WeedSmart Big 6 principles of diversity in weed control.

This year also saw the inception of the WeedSmart Legend award. The inaugural recipient of this award was Kevin Morthorpe, who has represented Gentech Pioneer on the WeedSmart Advisory Committee since its inception in 2013.

Representing the WeedSmart leadership team, Lisa Mayer presented the award to the recently-retired Mr Morthorpe in recognition of his invaluable role in establishing and promoting herbicide stewardship programs, particularly for herbicide-tolerant crops.

Kevin Morthorpe, the inaugural recipient of the WeedSmart Legend award.

Watch the presentation speech below.

The event attracted senior agricultural students, growers and agronomists from as far as Central Queensland and Western Australia. The broad cross-section of growers responded to the opportunity to engage with WeedSmart’s industry sponsors, who showcased their weed management tools at the forum and the machinery demonstrations.

The 3-day event included a full-day information forum, two machinery demonstrations and visits to six farms.

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