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Launch tactical assault on late season weeds

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) encourages growers to consider harvest weed seed control (HWSC) tactics in addition to late season herbicide options to minimise weed numbers in subsequent crops.

Due to this year’s seasonal conditions, many Western Australian growers are dealing with higher-than-usual weed burdens in their paddocks in the lead-up to harvest.

GRDC plant health technologies program manager Ken Young said capturing and destroying weed seeds at harvest was vital in managing weed and herbicide resistance issues, and HWSC systems were the last opportunity during the cropping season to prevent weed seedbank inputs.

“GRDC-supported trials in WA have demonstrated that HWSC strategies – used in combination with herbicides – reduce weed populations to very low levels,” Dr Young said.

“HWSC options available to growers include chaff carts, narrow windrow burning, baling chaff and Harrington Seed Destructor (HSD) technology.

“It may be too late to make the necessary machinery modifications for some of these options prior to this harvest, but the GRDC strongly encourages growers to consider employing these techniques during future harvests.”

HWSC is the key strategy of the industry-led WeedSmart initiative which advocates 10 ways Australian farmers can fight herbicide resistance.

Dr Young said growers planning to apply herbicides to crops late in the season must follow product labels and adhere to withholding periods.

“Late applications to crops increase the risk of detectable herbicide residues in harvested grain, potentially leading to breaches of maximum residue limits,” he said.

Information about stewardship is available in the GRDC Pre-Harvest Herbicide Use Fact Sheet.

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