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Value in sponsoring herbicide stewardship program

FMC Agricultural Solutions, now the world’s fifth largest crop protection chemical company, has recently signed up as a silver sponsor of the WeedSmart herbicide stewardship program.

Dugald North, FMC development manager (crops) said the company’s acquisition of part of the DuPont Crop Protection division late last year has brought to the company a world-class discovery and development team and facilities, a pipeline of 15 synthetic active ingredients currently in development, including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, and an extensive library of 1.8 million synthetic compounds.

Dugald North, FMC Agricultural Solutions development manager (crops) said the company has signed up as a silver sponsor of the WeedSmart herbicide stewardship program to support the ‘WeedSmart Big 6’ strategy for sustainable herbicide use.

“FMC is keenly aware of the impact herbicide resistance has on farming businesses and is fully supportive of the ‘WeedSmart Big 6’ strategy for sustainable herbicide use,” said Mr North. “We see WeedSmart as an important component of promoting herbicide use that prolongs the efficacy of our new herbicide molecules when they are released on the market.”

“The WeedSmart Big 6 combines best practice herbicide use with cultural strategies to keep weed numbers low, maintaining an environment where herbicides can perform most effectively,” he said. “Herbicide resistance is a central concern for our business and FMC is committed to prolonging the effective life of new chemistries, even if this means foregoing sales in the short term.”

Prior to the release of their new herbicide molecules, FMC has contracted the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) to conduct multi-generational resistance testing, which Mr North said will provide a scientific basis for the formulation of an effective stewardship program for individual products.

In welcoming FMC Agricultural Solutions as a silver sponsor, Lisa Mayer, AHRI centre manager and WeedSmart project leader said the promotion of sustainable herbicide use and cultural practices that drive down weed seed banks is key to securing the weed control productivity gains made by the current generation of Australian farmers.

“WeedSmart is an industry-led initiative that brings together knowledge and experience from Australian research partners, commercial entities, Government, advisers and growers to ensure Australian farmers have access to leading-edge weed management technologies and practices,” she said. “With the financial and in-kind support from sponsors secured for a further three years, WeedSmart is geared up to continue providing rural industries with insights into effective integrated weed control programs.”

Ms Mayer said gaining the support of FMC Agricultural Solutions was testament to the perceived effectiveness of the WeedSmart program in promoting practical tactics growers could implement to maintain their profitability.

“WeedSmart has become an effective conduit of information between growers within and between regions, and between growers, advisors and researchers,” she said. “We have used as many platforms as possible to raise awareness, not only of the extent of herbicide resistance but also to highlight successful management strategies that growers can implement immediately.”

“There have been many instances where growers have returned from a WeedSmart Week event or field day, or read about another grower’s success and immediately adopted practices such as harvest weed seed control, patch management, optical spray technologies or greater crop competition.”

The ‘Big 6’ WeedSmart tactics known to drive down weed numbers and drastically reduce the impact of herbicide resistance on Australian farms are: 1. Rotate crops and pastures, 2. Mix and rotate herbicide modes of action, 3. Increase crop competition, 4. Use the double-knock, 5. Stop weed seed set and 6. Implement harvest weed seed control.

FMC have joined forces with existing platinum sponsor GRDC, gold sponsors CRDC, Nufarm, Sinochem, Syngenta, Monsanto and Bayer, silver sponsors Pioneer Seeds, BASF and Dow AgroSciences and bronze sponsors Queensland Government, ICAN, Delta Agribusiness, The University of Adelaide, CropLife, Rural Directions and AGRIvision to spread the WeedSmart Big 6 message amongst growers and advisors to tackle herbicide resistance in Australia.



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Every locality has its own spectrum of weeds, and growers face different opportunities and challenges regarding the control tactics they can employ. The WeedSmart Big 6 approach is a practical way to ensure that an integrated weed management program is put in place that disrupts weed seed production and the evolution of herbicide resistance. Commencing in January 2021, Jana Dixon has joined the WeedSmart team of extension agronomists, with a focus on applying the Big 6 to manage weeds in the high rainfall cropping systems of southern Australia – from Esperance in WA to south-eastern SA, Tasmania and south-western Victoria. Jana will add to the dedicated and experienced extension agronomists on the WeedSmart team with Peter Newman in the Western region, Chris Davey in the South, Greg and Kirrily Condon in the East and Paul McIntosh in the North. Jana Dixon has joined the WeedSmart team of extension agronomists, with a focus on applying the Big 6 to manage weeds in the high rainfall cropping systems of southern Australia – from Esperance in WA to south-eastern SA, Tasmania and south-western Victoria. Jana hails from the Mid North of SA, and began working at Pinion Advisory (previously Rural Directions) while she was studying agriculture at the University of Adelaide. She has been employed full-time at Pinion Advisory since January 2019 as an agribusiness consultant, based in Clare, and spends most of her time delivering agronomy and farm business advice to clients from a wide range of cropping regions in South Australia. Pinion Advisory is a foundation WeedSmart sponsor and Jana has been involved in two WeedSmart Week events already – the first as a participant and grower group organiser at the Horsham event in 2019 and then as the local organiser for WeedSmart Week 2020 in Clare. In welcoming her to the WeedSmart team, program manager Lisa Mayer says Jana brings energy, commitment and insight to deliver communications focussed on the southern region’s high rainfall regions. “Growers in the southern high rainfall zones are facing some serious issues with herbicide resistance influencing their farming decisions,” says Ms Mayer. “Jana will be engaging with agronomists, growers and researchers in each of the distinct high rainfall zones to understand the complexities and look for practical ways to apply the WeedSmart Big 6 in various cropping scenarios.” “We plan to deliver WeedSmart Week in Esperance, part of Western Australia’s high rainfall cropping zone, in August 2021 and Jana will play a key role in the planning and delivering of our annual 3-day flagship event.” Jana says her experience with the WeedSmart program has been very positive and she has been particularly impressed with the support the program has from all sectors of the grains industry. Newly appointed WeedSmart extension agronomist, Jana Dixon (green cap) leading discussions with farm visit host, Ben Marshman, Owen SA, and growers and agronomists attending WeedSmart Week 2020 in Clare. “I have spoken to many growers and agronomists who have found real value in the information that the WeedSmart program delivers,” she says. “For many it is as much about considering another operator’s philosophy on dealing with weeds, and taking a fresh look at their own systems, rather than just learning about a new tactic or the traits of a new herbicide in isolation from the big picture.” She says the high calibre of industry people who contribute their time and expertise to the program is testament to the value WeedSmart has to agribusiness, growers, agronomists and researchers alike. In taking on the responsibility for delivering information tailored for the high rainfall zones Jana says she is pleased to have an extensive network of contacts through Pinion Advisory, with offices in a number of high rainfall areas to provide easy access to local agronomists and growers. She is also aware that there are major differences in weed spectrums and farming systems in each high rainfall zone and plans to take full advantage of the opportunity this role presents to expand her understanding of different approaches to weed management. “The long and favourable growing season and the associated prolonged periods of weed germination, is a key factor that I see potentially impacting on a grower’s weed management strategies in these regions,” she says. “On the other hand, access to highly diverse rotations and a focus on crop competition are two strategies that can play an important role in achieving excellent weed management in these regions.” “I am keen to engage with anyone working and farming in the high rainfall zones to build my knowledge and understanding,” she says. “And to create opportunities to develop and extend the WeedSmart Big 6 strategies, both herbicide and non-herbicide, that work in each area and in different situations.” WeedSmart is the industry voice delivering science-backed weed control solutions with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), major herbicide, machinery and seed companies, and university and government research partners, all of whom have a stake in sustainable farming systems. You an follow Jana on Twitter and keep up to date with the HRZ here.
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Spray well – correct nozzles, adjuvants and water rates

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