Read time: 4 minutes

Stephen and Michelle Hatty, Matong NSW

Double breaks, crop competition and chaff decks

Farming in the Matong area, north-west of Wagga Wagga, Stephen and Michelle Hatty, along with Stephen’s father, Rodney, and son Joel have been building a robust continuous cropping program based on the stubble retention system started by Stephen’s parents in the 1960s.

The family now crops a total 2100 ha of land within an 11 km radius, on a very flat landscape with soils ranging from red loam to heavy red clay and self-mulching black clay. They adopted reduced tillage practices in the 1990s and now run a 12 m controlled traffic farming (CTF) system.



The Hatty family uses a double break crop sequence strategy of a pulse then canola, followed by wheat then barley to put firm downward pressure on the weed seed bank.

The very wet season in 2016 resulted in unavoidable soil compaction and weed escapes, which prompted Stephen and Michelle to upgrade from a tyne seeder on 333 mm rows to an NDF disc seeder on 250 mm rows. The seeder has worked well from the first season onwards with dry sown crops establishing uniformly since 2017.

We had been considering the change for a while as disc seeders work well in heavy clay soils, conserve more moisture and result in much less soil disturbance, says Stephen. We had been finding that even though the soil structure is quite good, the tyne seeder tended to bring clods to the surface when the soil is dry at the start of the canola seeding program in April.

It also gave us the opportunity to further increase crop competition with the narrower rows, he says. We also get better seedbed utilisation and can lift our planting rates to maximise yield.

Changing to a disc seeder gave the Hattys the opportunity to further increase crop competition with the narrower rows and lift their planting rates to maximise yield and optimise seedbed utilisation.

The Hattys use a double break crop sequence strategy of a pulse then canola, followed by wheat then barley to put firm downward pressure on the weed seed bank. Stephen says the pulse phase of faba beans, lentils or field peas helps improve subsoil moisture and soil nitrogen for the following canola crop. Pulses offer different chemistry options for grass weeds and even brown manuring if weed pressure is high.

For example, trifluralin is normally out for cereals but can be used after a pulse crop like faba beans that doesnt leave much cover on the paddock, he says. We also use water rates of 80 to 100 L/ha to maximise the effectiveness of pre-emergent herbicides in high stubble situations.

The Hattys are keen to host trials on their property where they are able to see first-hand the outcome of different agronomic options or crop performance. In 2017, they hosted NSW DPI trials looking at the competitive ability of Planet and La Trobe barley, with Planet being more prostrate in growth habit and La Trobe being very upright.

In 2017, they hosted NSW DPI trials looking at the competitive ability of Planet and La Trobe barley, with Planet being more prostrate in growth habit and La Trobe being very upright.

We sow all our crops early in their optimal sowing windows and try to take advantage of more competitive varieties to suppress weed growth, says Stephen. In dry conditions barley is a great option to reduce weeds, produce significantly higher grain yield and return more straw than wheat ahead of sowing a pulse crop.

In 2015 the Hattys added harvest weed seed control to the program. They chose to fit an Emar chaff deck system to their Case 8230 header and have been confining weed seed to the 3 m tramlines ever since.

Since adding an Emar chaff deck system to their Case 8230 header in 2015 the Hattys have slowed down the chaff deck conveyors and added a chopper to improve straw spreading.

We have slowed down the chaff deck conveyors and added a chopper to improve straw spreading, says Stephen. We had already been harvesting fairly low to suit the tyne seeder so there was no real change to the way we harvest. As time goes on we expect that less and less weed seed will be deposited each harvest resulting in fewer and fewer weeds growing on the tramlines.

Related Articles

Related Articles

View all
Article
News

Cost-effective dual HWSC modes

Using two modes of harvest weed seed control can maximise the feed value for livestock and minimise the impact of burning chaff. Read More...
Case Study
Case Study

Craig Bignell & Sarah Robinson, Broomehill, WA

The WeedSmart Big 6 is keeping weed numbers down and reducing the impact of herbicide resistance on the Bignell’s mixed farming enterprise. Read More...
Case Study
Case Study

Bingham Agriculture, Mingay, Vic

Farm manager Sam Sedgwick and cropping manager Tim Dunne manage Bingham Agriculture’s 5500 ha mixed farming aggregation near Mingay, Vic. Read More...

Webinars

View all
Video
Webinar

Weed Seed Impact Mills — the bottom line

In this webinar we looked at the recent weed seed impact mill report. Read More...
Video
Webinar

Success stories and challenges – using weed seed impact mills in the high rainfall zone

In this webinar, growers share their experience with using weed seed impact mills in the high rainfall zone. They discuss their wins and the challenges they've encountered. Read More...
Video
Webinar

Beating barley grass despite resistance and dormancy challenges

Learn how to control barley grass despite increasing dormancy and resistance challenges. Read More...

Videos

View all
Video
Webinar

Weed Seed Impact Mills — the bottom line

In this webinar we looked at the recent weed seed impact mill report. Read More...
Video
Webinar

Success stories and challenges – using weed seed impact mills in the high rainfall zone

In this webinar, growers share their experience with using weed seed impact mills in the high rainfall zone. They discuss their wins and the challenges they've encountered. Read More...
Video
Webinar

Beating barley grass despite resistance and dormancy challenges

Learn how to control barley grass despite increasing dormancy and resistance challenges. Read More...

Factsheets

View all
Fact Sheet

Control barley grass in LRZ farming systems

Barley grass in Southern and Western regions requires 3 to 4 years of seed set control to run down the weed seed bank. Read More...
Fact Sheet

Windrow burn chute for CASE harvester

CAD designs for a narrow windrow burning chute suited to a CASE header – suitable for adaptation to other harvester makes. Read More...
Fact Sheet

Wild radish factsheet

Growers are adopting diverse and integrated control strategies to manage herbicide resistant wild radish populations. Read More...

Subscribe to the WeedSmart Newsletter