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How can I maximise grass weed control using hybrid canola?

A competitive canola crop can halve grass weed seed set. To achieve this you need a vigorous variety, robust pre-emergent herbicide and the best agronomic package. EPAG Research agronomist, Andrew Ware, says the results of six years of trial work across the southern growing region with GRDC investment has demonstrated how important crop nutrition and time of sowing are for maximising canola vigour and yield. EPAG Research agronomist, Andrew Ware, says crop nutrition and time of sowing are critical for maximising canola yield and vigour to out-compete weeds. “Canola requires 80 kg nitrogen per tonne of grain produced,” he says. “Growers will be rewarded if they set a target yield and fertilise accordingly. The other key factor is to sow early – in April, through to early May for some varieties, so that start of flowering occurs in the optimal window.” For growers in South Australia, 2021 brings the opportunity to grow many additional hybrid varieties, with an expanded range of herbicide tolerance traits, through the removal of the GM moratoria. “Roundup Ready (RR) canola can be grown in South Australia for the first time this year,” says Andrew. “Herbicide resistance testing should be a key part of the decision to grow any herbicide tolerant crop as there is little advantage in growing a tolerant crop if the key grass weeds have evolved resistance to that herbicide.” Canola offers growers the opportunity to tick off all the WeedSmart Big 6 tactics for reducing the impact of herbicide resistant weeds on farming systems – diversity in crops, mix and rotate chemistry, double-knock, competitive crops, stop seed set and harvest weed seed control. What has changed in canola agronomy in the last few years? In brief: Growing hybrid canola requires higher management input to gain the full benefits of the higher investment in seed. The details: Hybrid canola varieties are generally very competitive against weeds, particularly when sown in the correct window and supported with a robust pre-emergent herbicide package to give the crop a head start. Canola yield is optimised when the time of sowing results in the crop flowering and setting pods when there is minimal heat, moisture and frost stress. Growers now have the choice of hybrid canola varieties with several new trait combinations for weed control. Genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready (RR) canola now joins the offering in South Australia where hybrid and open pollinated imi-tolerant (Clearfield) and triazine-tolerant (TT) traits have been available for many years. New traits and combinations available now or in the near future include stacked imi + triazine, glufosinate + triazine and glyphosate tolerance for weed control along with varieties with high omega 3 and non-shattering pod traits. Hybrid canola is now considered a reliable option for low rainfall areas when adequate nitrogen is applied. What are the key strategies for growing RR canola? In brief: Use pre-emergent herbicide, sow early and apply the first glyphosate spray when the crop is at 1-2 leaf stage. The details: If you have decided to grow RR canola this season you will already be aware of the stewardship agreement and the key requirement to a limit of two glyphosate applications per crop and applied before the crop reaches 6-leaf stage for Roundup Ready canola and first flower (three applications are permitted) for TruFlex canola. Only glyphosate formulations that are registered for use on RR / Trulfex canola are permitted. Further details are available in Bayer’s Roundup Ready® Canola Technologies Grower Accreditation Workbook. Sowing in the optimal window will often mean there is no opportunity for a pre-sowing knockdown. This means the timing of the first glyphosate application is strongly recommended at the 1-2 leaf crop stage – which is likely to occur while other paddocks are still being sown. The RR Crop Management Plan outlines the chemical and cultural tactics applicable to this technology. Courtesy of Bayer. Click image to access the brochure. What WeedSmart Big 6 tactics can I implement in hybrid canola crops? In brief: All six! The details: The value of herbicide tolerance traits in crops comes from their strategic use in a crop rotation and an understanding of the resistance profile of the weeds present. Like any tactic, herbicide tolerance traits can be ‘broken’ if they are over-used in a cropping system. There must be a plan in place to control survivor weeds. In Roundup Ready crops this means having strategies to take the pressure off glyphosate and preventing weed seed set. Crop competition can play a crucial role here, providing season-long suppression of weeds. Consider the other herbicide options in-crop, such as including a registered pre-emergent grass herbicide and mixing clethodim or Lontrel with the second glyphosate application. The non-shattering pod trait (Podguard) supports direct harvesting but this is going to be too late to stop weed seed set, and crop topping with glyphosate is not going to control any glyphosate resistant weeds present. Windrowing is a reliable tool for managing late germinated and resistant grass weeds, especially when coupled with a harvest weed seed control method such as an impact mill, chaff lining and the like. Strategies also need to be in place to control herbicide tolerant canola volunteers, most of which will germinate in the following season. More resources The 10 key lessons from the Optimised Canola Profitability project  Optimised canola profitability: and overview of five years of canola agronomic research in South Australia  Roundup Ready Crop management plan  Bayer’s Roundup Ready® Canola Technologies Grower Accreditation Workbook 
Article
Case Study

Single family, Coonamble NSW

Tony and Sharon Single farm with Tony’s parents John and Mary, south east of Coonamble in northern NSW with views of the Warrumbungle Range. Across the 4500 ha cropping area at ‘Narratigah’, the weed numbers are low as a result of the Single’s ‘farming moisture’ philosophy, which involves planting whenever there is sufficient subsoil moisture to establish a competitive crop on their heavy clay soils. Their location allows a mix of summer and winter cropping, so if there is an opportunity for a summer crop they take it, even if that might result in missing the winter crop. Tony (left) and John Single use their Single Shot weed detecting drone to scout for and map weeds to create a prescription map for their tractor mounted boomspray. “Farming moisture is our risk management strategy and it has paid off time and time again,” says Tony. “We are really farming with probability and by reducing our risk we have been able to maximise profits. If there is insufficient subsoil moisture we just don’t plant. This means we have very few failed crops and we take advantage of the intermittent winter fallows to run down the seedbank, particularly for winter-active grass weeds.” Tony says the area has a slightly summer dominant rainfall pattern but rainfall is very variable. The main crops grown are wheat, chickpea and sorghum, along with any other crop that might fit a certain planting opportunity. While their cropping decisions are very water responsive, there can be situations where the need for ground cover outweighs other considerations. This can occur after a chickpea crop and if they feel it is necessary, Tony and John will plant a crop just to produce stubble, knowing that the yield will most likely be low. “Generally, if it is too dry to plant we will choose to fallow to build up the soil moisture profile knowing that this is the least-risk strategy and gives the best result in the long term,” says Tony. “We can effectively gain good weed control for the full 12 months through the use of cropping and fallowing in both winter and summer.” Resistance status Herbicide resistance is considered the biggest threat to their business even though they currently have resistant weeds well under control. Glyphosate resistance was first confirmed at ‘Narratigah’ in 2005 in annual ryegrass, and Tony and John are also aware of some small areas of glyphosate resistant barnyard grass. “These are our most important weeds and keeping a lid on resistance is crucial to prevent them becoming limiting factors in our cropping choices,” says Tony. “We also have other weeds including milk thistle, fleabane, blow-away grass and feathertop Rhodes grass – the full suite of northern region weeds really.” Tony says their efforts to consistently drive down the weed seed bank, and having regular winter fallows, minimises the impact of herbicide resistance on their business. “Our weed seed bank is low and weeds do not dictate our cropping decisions,” he says. “Ryegrass has a relatively long growing season so we have ample opportunity to stop seed set through a winter fallow. There are also several chemical options for use with our spot spraying technology and new pre-emergent herbicide options too, along with cultural controls such as chipping.” “We are more concerned about the implications of resistant barnyard grass, which washed in from up-stream. Barnyard grass has the ability to germinate and very quickly set seed, making it more difficult to contain.” To avert the risk of more seed being deposited by overland flow, the Singles have constructed a number of diversion banks on the up-stream side of their cropping area to divert water. Tony is also noticing ‘rate creep’ as weeds like milk thistle that are slow to metabolise herbicide, become harder to control. He says they are needing to use a higher rate of paraquat in the double-knock applications. The Singles are managing this through regular double-knocking in fallow and strategically using saflufenacil with paraquat to enhance control. Black oats currently has a low resistance profile due to the use of winter fallows and fop chemistry is still effective in many paddocks. The Singles use their proprietary drone weed mapping system ‘Single Shot’ to scout for and map weeds, helping them to better plan for and implement each herbicide application. Their integrated weed management system is an excellent example of the WeedSmart Big 6 in practice. #1 – Diversity in cropping The combination of winter cereals, winter pulses and summer cereals provides many opportunities for controlling weeds pre-season and in-crop. “The decision to plant sorghum is driven by weed and disease pressure in winter crops,” says Tony. “In a paddock that is becoming difficult to manage, we would rather change to sorghum than turn to a heavy reliance on pre-emergent herbicides and in-crop spraying of winter weeds in winter crops. Swapping to a summer crop gives us the opportunity to target problematic weeds using a winter fallow phase.” This practice, plus the persistent drought in recent years, has resulted in more fallow area and allowed them to drive down the weed seed bank of annual ryegrass and black oats. It is now very rare for them to target grass weeds in-crop in winter cereals. Using their drone and sensor to scout for and map weeds in the fallow periods has been a powerful tool to attack the weed seed bank in both summer and winter. Decoupling the weed detection and spraying operations opens up opportunities for more diverse weed control. Tony and John can use the drone to map the presence of weeds just before, or soon after, significant rainfall events. Once they are able to get on the paddocks with the sprayer they can target previously existing weeds with spot spraying an effective herbicide mixture while applying a blanket rate to the new germination of weeds following the rain. Knowing exactly what is in the paddock before they start spraying means they can consider a wider range of potential chemical options or techniques. Once the plan is made, they know how much product they will need and the cost. Knowing that they will only be treating say 5 ha in a paddock, they can afford to use chemicals that they would never consider for a blanket spray application. #2 – Mixing and rotating MOA Tony and John use some preemergent chemistry strategically in fallows to maximise weed control diversity while keeping their options open for cropping. They aim to use a preemergent application to control key broadleaf and grass weeds after harvest, which takes the pressure off glyphosate without compromising planting opportunities the following autumn. A combination of soil residual herbicides such as picloram, Balance and Flame has given good results early in the summer fallow, followed with a pre-sowing double knock of glyphosate and paraquat, giving a total of five chemical groups targeting fallow weeds. When it suits the program, they use chemistry mixes such as Sharpen + paraquat in the double knock, increasing the modes of action and increasing the efficacy of the treatment on the weed spectrum. In addition to the use of preemergent chemistry, winter grass weeds are also targeted in broadleaf crops, usually with clethodim (Group A, Group 1), but the Singles are aware of the resistance risk and are looking to introduce Clearfield canola as alternative means of grass control in break crops, and to bring more diversity to their system. Using their drone mapping technology, Tony and John can merge multiple flights of a paddock during the year into one map to show the location of all the weeds detected. This map can then be used to apply a site-specific soil residual herbicide for the next season to say 15 to 20 per cent of the paddock. In treating smaller areas, they can afford to consider chemistry that might otherwise be too expensive, add more diversity to chemicals used and reduce their plant-back risks. #3 – Crop competition The Singles consider crop competition to be their #1 weed control tactic, simply because it is the only one that provides season-long in-crop weed control. “We do everything we can to maximise the crop’s ability to suppress weeds,” says Tony. “This starts at planting, where we have invested in planting gear with moisture seeking capability so we can plant crops on time and ensure good establishment. We take great care to ensure there are no gaps for weeds to exploit, and always square-off the headlands.” Planting at 330 mm row spacing allows for inter-row sowing and stubble retention, and planting rates are chosen to maximise yield – with long-season wheat sown at 40 to 60 plants/m2, and later plant wheat sown at 80 to 100 plants/m2. The slope of each paddock dictates the tramline direction to be perpendicular to the overland flow, which results in most paddocks being sown north south. For all crops Tony aims to achieve 100% knockdown prior to planting with a double knock treatment, followed with a well-established, vigorous crop. #4 – Double knock The Singles started using the double knock tactic twenty years ago in their winter fallows, and introduced it to summer fallows about ten years ago. “The double-knock strategy hasn’t added significantly to our overall weed control costs,” he says. “When we first started using the double-knock we counted it as a direct cost to the system, but we now see the second knock with paraquat as a preemptive strike on future weeds – an investment in lowering the weed seed bank, and we are picking up savings with lower volumes of chemical required in subsequent weed control applications.” The double knock tactic is now embedded in their weed management strategy and they have invested in spray gear to allow them to cover their area within the recommended 7 to 8 day window. Tony says the high level of control they achieve with the double knock means there are fewer and fewer weeds each year and this reduces the cost of the operation, particularly now they have the capacity to spot spray weeds with highly consistent weed detection. “This tactic puts a significant dent in the weed seed bank and reduces the number of large and potentially stressed plants being sprayed,” says Tony. “This makes it a very effective resistance tool, particularly for our hard to kill weeds.” #5 – Stopping seed set The Singles are aiming for 100 per cent weed control in fallow, particularly for annual ryegrass and BYG, by managing paddocks in a site specific way at a square metre level using their drone scouting technology. “The drone can effectively scout for weeds at a rate of 200 ha/hr, which makes it very quick and easy to scout a paddock and then go out and chip the five or so plants that might be left growing in a paddock,” says Tony. “This moves us closer to achieving 100 percent weed control. We have really driven down our weed numbers and significantly reduced the impact of herbicide resistance in our operation.” Occasionally, Tony will drive along the tramlines in the side-by-side and chip out any grass weeds in chickpeas that have either escaped control or germinated late in-crop. Then prior to harvest, Tony and John look for any patches of weeds that have escaped control and take action to prevent seed set. “If we find there is a patch of weeds getting away from us we don’t hesitate to sacrifice small areas of the crop to prevent seed set,” says Tony. “In 2020 we had a three or four hectare patch of ryegrass and decided to use a small slasher to mow the crop and weeds then sprayed the area with paraquat. That way we made sure the weeds did not set seed and prevented the spread of resistant weed seed at harvest.” The Singles do not spray any selective herbicides outside their cropped area and prior to harvest they slash a 2 m width of crop along fencelines to stop the header bringing weeds into the paddock from the fenceline. #6 – Harvest weed seed control Several years ago, the Singles trialed narrow windrow burning for harvest weed seed control but decided that the negative effects outweighed the weed control benefits. “For us, ground cover is supremely important for erosion control, reducing evaporation and increasing infiltration through the heavy clay soils,” says Tony. “We are watching the developments in impact mill technology and will most likely go down that path if we feel harvest weed seed control is needed in the future.”
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How can I ensure my complex tank mix is compatible and will spray out?

The pressure for growers to get across a large area in a short period of time has led to an increased use of complex tank mixes – but the efficiency gains of this practice can easily become unstuck if taking short-cuts results in not being able to spray the brew out. Stephen Pettenon, FMC technical services specialist. FMC technical services specialist, Stephen Pettenon, says if there are many products in a tank mix, it becomes increasingly difficult to prevent adverse chemical reactions from occurring in the ‘brew’. “If operators follow a few guiding principles it is possible to safely mix a complex combination of herbicides, insecticides and even crop nutrients,” he says. “But it is also quite easy to end up with a tank of sludge that can not be sprayed out, if you don’t take the time to get it right.” With several new products, such as FMC’s Overwatch, Syngenta’s Reflex and Callisto and Bayer’s Sakura Flow, being released as suspension concentrates (SC), it is important to recognise that there is no guarantee that a desired combination can be mixed and sprayed out effectively. “The first consideration is whether the tank mix is safe and if there are any biological antagonisms likely to arise,” says Stephen. “This is where one product impairs the efficacy of a tank mix partner or increases the risk of crop damage. These antagonisms are relatively rare in pre-emergent situations, but where they occur they can also have implications for the evolution of herbicide resistance.” “The second, and more common, problem in tank mixes is the potential for the mix partners to be chemically incompatible,” he says. “This can result in the formation of irreversible precipitate reactions or some components settling out of suspension and potentially causing blockages.” Tank mixing involves many products and so potential crop safety losses must also be a consideration. The WeedSmart Big 6 tactics for reducing the impact of herbicide resistant weeds on farming systems also promotes the importance of applying herbicides in the most effective and safe manner. *Always read the label and check with your agronomist for compatibility before mixing and applying agricultural chemicals. What are the top tips for complex mixes? In brief: The number one tip is to take your time. Rushing is the most common cause of tank mix failures. The details: Products that are SC or water dispersable granules (WDG) need time to properly disperse. They also need sufficient solvent – that is water. Start by filling the tank to at least 70 per cent of its capacity with good quality water before adding any products. Each chemical must be added and dispersed fully before the next chemical is introduced to the tank. Keep water rates above 80 L/ha and ensure the agitation system is working well to improve the likelihood of keeping a complex mix in suspension. Simplify the mix if you can. Keeping two or three products in a compatible mix is generally less challenging than achieving the same for a six or seven-way mix. Be realistic about what can be achieved in a single tank mix. Courtesy of FMC. Do I need to be careful when choosing between formulations? In brief: Yes, not all products are created equal. The details: Some products are only available as a powder formulation (suspension  concentrate – SC) and it is not possible for them to be produced as a more soluble, emulsifiable concentrate (EC). For example, Rustler 900 WG is a formulation that requires plenty of time to absorb water and swell the granules and then to disperse into the tank water. Allow at least 5 to 10 minutes, with agitation, before adding the next product. Suspension concentrates also require significant amounts of time. Some formulations of the same active can behave vastly differently in tank mixes. A well-known example is that potassium (K salt) loaded glyphosates are often less compatible in a tank mix than isopropylamine (IPA) and monoethanolamine (MEA) loaded glyphosate products. K salt formulations have never been good mixers because the potassium ion has a high ionic charge and small molecular mass, so it has a high affinity to bind with other molecules. K salt formulations are known to cause flocculation issues if mixed with SC and WDG products and such combinations should be avoided. There are some brands of potassium glyphosate formulations with complex surfactant systems that are mixing-friendly, provided agitation is maintained. Mixing order is crucial. Start with correctly conditioned water and then add the least soluble formulation first, allowing time for each product to disperse before adding the next component. If you are unsure of the compatibility of the desired products for the mix, conduct a jar test or ask for technical advice. The major chemical companies are involved in ongoing compatibility testing of the products that may be useful tank mix partners. Are there things I can do with the sprayer set up to minimise potential problems? In brief: Avoid over-filtering and be careful when using transfer systems. The details: It is common for spray rigs to use filtration that is too fine for the nozzle size being used. Using the correct in-line and secondary filter for the selected nozzle can greatly reduce the chance of blockages. For example, the standard 100 mesh filters on most spray rigs may not be the best choice for handling the mix. If using a single orifice nozzle that is 02 or greater in size, then using a 100 mesh filter (when a 50 mesh is adequate), will greatly reduce the area of passage and potentially increase the chance of blockages. If transfer systems are used it is important that the small tank contains only one of the spray mix components. Pre-mixing some or all the products in a transfer system or nursery tank can have some advantages in time efficiency for refilling the sprayer. Problems can arise if the full mixture of chemical is added to a small nurse tank. For example, if the full load of components is added to a 1000 L nurse tank destined for a 5000 L spray rig re-fill, there is unlikely to be sufficient water in the nurse tank to allow for complete dispersion of the product. If transfer systems are used it is important that the small tank contains only one of the spray mix components. Other resources Agricultural pesticides formulations (SmartTrain course notes)
Article
Case Study

Kurt Mayne, Rolleston Qld

Preserving the option for opportunity cropping is critical for Rolleston grain grower Kurt Mayne, but this means he needs to be careful with pre-emergent herbicides in his fallow weed control program. Kurt and his family operate a 6000 ha mixed farming operation of dryland grain production and backgrounding steers for feedlots at ‘Broken Plains’, 13 km east of Rolleston in Central Queensland. They grow chickpea and wheat every winter and summer crops when the opportunity presents on the 1400 ha of farmed country previously used for finishing cattle on leucaena (AKA tagasaste). Kurt Mayne bought a secondhand 36 m weedIT in early 2019 and can now spot spray their entire cropping area within two days. Wanting to keep one step ahead of herbicide resistance, Kurt took the opportunity to join a GRDC Grower Solutions study tour that included attending the 3-day WeedSmart Week event in Narrabri in 2018. He returned from the tour convinced that he needed to take extra steps to minimise the risk of herbicide resistance before it began to impact on his crop choices and profitability. “Optical spraying technology was the tactic that really stood out for me on the study tour,” says Kurt. “We bought a weedIT boom soon after I returned from the trip and I have been impressed with the benefits that have come with the addition of an optical sprayer to our weed control program.” “In our farming system it is hard to incorporate pre-emergent herbicides in the fallow because that can restrict our options for opportunity cropping over summer,” he says. “The optical sprayer makes fallow weed management much more effective, and when that’s combined with pulses in the rotation we are able to keep on top of grass weeds like feathertop Rhodes grass, which was getting increasingly difficult to manage.” The main weeds at ‘Broken Plains’ are feathertop Rhodes grass (FTR), milkthistle and fleabane – all notoriously hard to kill in fallow situations. Kurt bought a secondhand 36 m weedIT in early 2019 and can now spot spray their entire cropping area within two days. He also uses a tow-behind sprayer for their broadacre spray applications. Kurt says the pressure from FTR had led to an increasing need for cultivation to stop seed set and he saw that optical spray technology would mean he could reduce the amount and frequency of cultivation. “We use the weedIT to spot spray weeds with a double knock of glyphosate plus a Group I [Group 18], followed with paraquat; targeting these hard to kill weeds when they are small,” says Kurt. “No residuals are used in fallow because they can limit our options for summer cropping particularly.” “The aim is to keep the fallows weed-free so we have low weed numbers at planting,” he says. “Once a crop is planted we do use residuals to give it the best chance to grow ahead of any weeds that might emerge on the planting rains.” The weedIT has markedly reduced the amount of chemical applied in the fallow and reduced the time needed to do an application across the cropped area. Kurt is finding it much easier to apply the double knock tactic for glyphosate within the optimal timeframe. “Being able to get a proper double knock done when you need to, means you can get on with other jobs, knowing that you have done the best control treatment possible on the weeds,” says Kurt. Crops and varieties are chosen to maximise yield potential and this also means there is maximum suppression on weeds. Their crops are sown on 50 cm row spacing in a 12 m controlled traffic system, except for sorghum, which is grown on 1.5 m spacing. “We are basically farming moisture here, so if there is suitable rainfall we want to be in a position to take that opportunity to plant,” he says. “Sorghum and mungbean are the usual summer crop options, and we aim to be cropping for 10 months of the year if conditions allow.” In drier years the winter crops are sown deep, about 15 cm, to access available moisture. Chickpeas are particularly well suited to moisture seeking planting techniques. Kurt grades his own chickpea and wheat seed to remove weed seeds and ensure that the largest and most vigorous seeds are planted. He buys in mungbean and sorghum seed each season to maximise seedling vigour and establishment, and ensure the seed is weed-free. Chickpeas are particularly well suited to moisture seeking planting techniques. Kurt grades his own chickpea and wheat seed to remove weed seeds and ensure that the largest and most vigorous seeds are planted. Kurt uses a tyned planter and a single disc for nitrogen application. He has recently embarked on a program to apply ‘deep P’ across the cropped area. The phosphorus is applied about three months before planting at a rate of 250 kg/ha MAP at a depth of about 30-45 cm using a dozer. He has been very impressed with the crop response to the phosphorus application, which has clearly demonstrated that low phosphorus levels have been a constraint on production. The Maynes are seriously considering adding harvest weed seed control to their weed management program. Kurt sees real benefits in the chaff deck system that delivers the chaff onto the tram lines – both as a weed control tactic and a means of reducing the frequency of tram line renovation. On the cattle side of their business the Maynes buy in about 1600 feeder steers and run them for less than 12 months on 2800 ha of buffel and leucaena pasture.

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Why chaff decks are a great option for harvest weed seed control

WeedSmart Southern Extension Agronomist, Greg Condon, who is a big advocate of chaff decks, joins us to give us some answers! We also hear from Northern Region grower, Chris Berry. He has had a chaff deck for a number of years and while he likes the concept of the mill, is sticking with the chaff deck for now.   Regional Update Our next Regional Update will come out next Monday and we’ll be hearing from Norther Region expert, Tim Bartimote. Tim is a Senior Land Services Officer in the Cropping division for NSW Central West Local Land Services. Over the last two years, Tim has been working on a chaff decking paddock demonstration project which has GRDC investment. New Content We’ve got great content on the WeedSmart website for you to check! Make sure you check out our latest Ask an Expert. It looks at how you can maximise grass weed control using hybrid canola. EPAG Research agronomist, Andrew Ware provides the answers. Read it here. Also, don’t miss our latest Case Study on the Single family, based in Coonamble, NSW. We also hosted a webinar last week with WeedSmart Southern Extension Agronomist Chris Davey & ICAN’s Mark Congreve. They looked at considerations for pre-emergent herbicides with dry sowing. You can watch it here.  
Audio
Podcast

Regional Update – Catherine Borger and Ben Whisson, WA

  Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development research officer Catherine Borger and project participant, Ben Whisson from Consult Ag (pictured above) have some interesting preliminary results to share with us. DPIRD’s Catherine Borger Barley Project Learn more about the project described in the podcast here. Weed Seed Wizard Check out the Weed Seed Wizard tool here. Barley Grass RIM Barley Grass RIM came about through the GRDC-funded ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble’ initiative that included an objective of promoting pro-active weed management strategies. Barley grass has become a critical ‘driver’ weed in several grain growing districts under no-till systems and in some areas such as Upper Eyre Peninsula, with barley grass also having a big influence on the cropping system. Using the RIM approach to testing the best IWM strategies has been valuable for ryegrass management over a long period, so it was an obvious step to provide agronomists, farmers and researchers with a RIM tool for these other major grass weeds. You can access the Barley Grass RIM tool here. You can learn more about both the Barley and Brome modelling tools here as well.
Audio
Podcast

Benefits of continuous spraying when weeds are small and Terrad’or explainer

  Back in February and March of 2020 Tim had some summer rain and decided to look at the weeds not the temperature. If the weeds weren’t moisture stressed he kept spraying all day even when it was hot. He had some great results which we’ll get into in this podcast. We’ll also be hearing from Nufarm’s André Sabeeney and Mitch Allen about their new product Terrad’or. Terrad’or is a new Group G herbicide from Nufarm. This product is best partnered with glyphosate as a knockdown spike or mixed with paraquat for double knock application. Spray Application Manual The GRDC has published an excellent spraying manual you can access. This Spray Application GrowNotes™ manual provides information on how various spraying systems and components work, along with those factors that the operator should consider to ensure the sprayer is operating to its full potential. This manual focuses on issues that will assist in maintaining the accuracy of the sprayer output while improving the efficiency and safety of spraying operations. It contains many useful tips for your spray operations. The manual includes information on sprayer set-up, including self-propelled sprayers, new tools for determining sprayer outputs, suggestions for assessing spray coverage in the field, improving droplet capture by the target, drift-reducing equipment and techniques, the effects of adjuvant and nozzle type on drift potential, and surface temperature inversion research. Get the details here. Regional Update Our next Regional Update will come out next Monday and is with Research Officer Catherine Borger from the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia. You can ensure you don’t miss it by subscribing to the podcast on your app of choice. New content Our latest Ask an Expert is “How can I maximise grass weed control using hybrid canola?” EPAG Research agronomist, Andrew Ware answers the question and says the results of six years of trial work across the southern growing region with GRDC investment has demonstrated how important crop nutrition and time of sowing are for maximising canola vigour and yield. Read it here. Also, don’t miss our latest Case Study on Single family, Coonamble NSW. Tony and Sharon Single farm with Tony’s parents John and Mary, south east of Coonamble in northern NSW with views of the Warrumbungle Range. Across the 4500 ha cropping area at ‘Narratigah’, the weed numbers are low as a result of the Single’s ‘farming moisture’ philosophy, which involves planting whenever there is sufficient subsoil moisture to establish a competitive crop on their heavy clay soils. Read it here.

Case Studies

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Article
Case Study

Single family, Coonamble NSW

Tony and Sharon Single farm with Tony’s parents John and Mary, south east of Coonamble in northern NSW with views of the Warrumbungle Range. Across the 4500 ha cropping area at ‘Narratigah’, the weed numbers are low as a result of the Single’s ‘farming moisture’ philosophy, which involves planting whenever there is sufficient subsoil moisture to establish a competitive crop on their heavy clay soils. Their location allows a mix of summer and winter cropping, so if there is an opportunity for a summer crop they take it, even if that might result in missing the winter crop. Tony (left) and John Single use their Single Shot weed detecting drone to scout for and map weeds to create a prescription map for their tractor mounted boomspray. “Farming moisture is our risk management strategy and it has paid off time and time again,” says Tony. “We are really farming with probability and by reducing our risk we have been able to maximise profits. If there is insufficient subsoil moisture we just don’t plant. This means we have very few failed crops and we take advantage of the intermittent winter fallows to run down the seedbank, particularly for winter-active grass weeds.” Tony says the area has a slightly summer dominant rainfall pattern but rainfall is very variable. The main crops grown are wheat, chickpea and sorghum, along with any other crop that might fit a certain planting opportunity. While their cropping decisions are very water responsive, there can be situations where the need for ground cover outweighs other considerations. This can occur after a chickpea crop and if they feel it is necessary, Tony and John will plant a crop just to produce stubble, knowing that the yield will most likely be low. “Generally, if it is too dry to plant we will choose to fallow to build up the soil moisture profile knowing that this is the least-risk strategy and gives the best result in the long term,” says Tony. “We can effectively gain good weed control for the full 12 months through the use of cropping and fallowing in both winter and summer.” Resistance status Herbicide resistance is considered the biggest threat to their business even though they currently have resistant weeds well under control. Glyphosate resistance was first confirmed at ‘Narratigah’ in 2005 in annual ryegrass, and Tony and John are also aware of some small areas of glyphosate resistant barnyard grass. “These are our most important weeds and keeping a lid on resistance is crucial to prevent them becoming limiting factors in our cropping choices,” says Tony. “We also have other weeds including milk thistle, fleabane, blow-away grass and feathertop Rhodes grass – the full suite of northern region weeds really.” Tony says their efforts to consistently drive down the weed seed bank, and having regular winter fallows, minimises the impact of herbicide resistance on their business. “Our weed seed bank is low and weeds do not dictate our cropping decisions,” he says. “Ryegrass has a relatively long growing season so we have ample opportunity to stop seed set through a winter fallow. There are also several chemical options for use with our spot spraying technology and new pre-emergent herbicide options too, along with cultural controls such as chipping.” “We are more concerned about the implications of resistant barnyard grass, which washed in from up-stream. Barnyard grass has the ability to germinate and very quickly set seed, making it more difficult to contain.” To avert the risk of more seed being deposited by overland flow, the Singles have constructed a number of diversion banks on the up-stream side of their cropping area to divert water. Tony is also noticing ‘rate creep’ as weeds like milk thistle that are slow to metabolise herbicide, become harder to control. He says they are needing to use a higher rate of paraquat in the double-knock applications. The Singles are managing this through regular double-knocking in fallow and strategically using saflufenacil with paraquat to enhance control. Black oats currently has a low resistance profile due to the use of winter fallows and fop chemistry is still effective in many paddocks. The Singles use their proprietary drone weed mapping system ‘Single Shot’ to scout for and map weeds, helping them to better plan for and implement each herbicide application. Their integrated weed management system is an excellent example of the WeedSmart Big 6 in practice. #1 – Diversity in cropping The combination of winter cereals, winter pulses and summer cereals provides many opportunities for controlling weeds pre-season and in-crop. “The decision to plant sorghum is driven by weed and disease pressure in winter crops,” says Tony. “In a paddock that is becoming difficult to manage, we would rather change to sorghum than turn to a heavy reliance on pre-emergent herbicides and in-crop spraying of winter weeds in winter crops. Swapping to a summer crop gives us the opportunity to target problematic weeds using a winter fallow phase.” This practice, plus the persistent drought in recent years, has resulted in more fallow area and allowed them to drive down the weed seed bank of annual ryegrass and black oats. It is now very rare for them to target grass weeds in-crop in winter cereals. Using their drone and sensor to scout for and map weeds in the fallow periods has been a powerful tool to attack the weed seed bank in both summer and winter. Decoupling the weed detection and spraying operations opens up opportunities for more diverse weed control. Tony and John can use the drone to map the presence of weeds just before, or soon after, significant rainfall events. Once they are able to get on the paddocks with the sprayer they can target previously existing weeds with spot spraying an effective herbicide mixture while applying a blanket rate to the new germination of weeds following the rain. Knowing exactly what is in the paddock before they start spraying means they can consider a wider range of potential chemical options or techniques. Once the plan is made, they know how much product they will need and the cost. Knowing that they will only be treating say 5 ha in a paddock, they can afford to use chemicals that they would never consider for a blanket spray application. #2 – Mixing and rotating MOA Tony and John use some preemergent chemistry strategically in fallows to maximise weed control diversity while keeping their options open for cropping. They aim to use a preemergent application to control key broadleaf and grass weeds after harvest, which takes the pressure off glyphosate without compromising planting opportunities the following autumn. A combination of soil residual herbicides such as picloram, Balance and Flame has given good results early in the summer fallow, followed with a pre-sowing double knock of glyphosate and paraquat, giving a total of five chemical groups targeting fallow weeds. When it suits the program, they use chemistry mixes such as Sharpen + paraquat in the double knock, increasing the modes of action and increasing the efficacy of the treatment on the weed spectrum. In addition to the use of preemergent chemistry, winter grass weeds are also targeted in broadleaf crops, usually with clethodim (Group A, Group 1), but the Singles are aware of the resistance risk and are looking to introduce Clearfield canola as alternative means of grass control in break crops, and to bring more diversity to their system. Using their drone mapping technology, Tony and John can merge multiple flights of a paddock during the year into one map to show the location of all the weeds detected. This map can then be used to apply a site-specific soil residual herbicide for the next season to say 15 to 20 per cent of the paddock. In treating smaller areas, they can afford to consider chemistry that might otherwise be too expensive, add more diversity to chemicals used and reduce their plant-back risks. #3 – Crop competition The Singles consider crop competition to be their #1 weed control tactic, simply because it is the only one that provides season-long in-crop weed control. “We do everything we can to maximise the crop’s ability to suppress weeds,” says Tony. “This starts at planting, where we have invested in planting gear with moisture seeking capability so we can plant crops on time and ensure good establishment. We take great care to ensure there are no gaps for weeds to exploit, and always square-off the headlands.” Planting at 330 mm row spacing allows for inter-row sowing and stubble retention, and planting rates are chosen to maximise yield – with long-season wheat sown at 40 to 60 plants/m2, and later plant wheat sown at 80 to 100 plants/m2. The slope of each paddock dictates the tramline direction to be perpendicular to the overland flow, which results in most paddocks being sown north south. For all crops Tony aims to achieve 100% knockdown prior to planting with a double knock treatment, followed with a well-established, vigorous crop. #4 – Double knock The Singles started using the double knock tactic twenty years ago in their winter fallows, and introduced it to summer fallows about ten years ago. “The double-knock strategy hasn’t added significantly to our overall weed control costs,” he says. “When we first started using the double-knock we counted it as a direct cost to the system, but we now see the second knock with paraquat as a preemptive strike on future weeds – an investment in lowering the weed seed bank, and we are picking up savings with lower volumes of chemical required in subsequent weed control applications.” The double knock tactic is now embedded in their weed management strategy and they have invested in spray gear to allow them to cover their area within the recommended 7 to 8 day window. Tony says the high level of control they achieve with the double knock means there are fewer and fewer weeds each year and this reduces the cost of the operation, particularly now they have the capacity to spot spray weeds with highly consistent weed detection. “This tactic puts a significant dent in the weed seed bank and reduces the number of large and potentially stressed plants being sprayed,” says Tony. “This makes it a very effective resistance tool, particularly for our hard to kill weeds.” #5 – Stopping seed set The Singles are aiming for 100 per cent weed control in fallow, particularly for annual ryegrass and BYG, by managing paddocks in a site specific way at a square metre level using their drone scouting technology. “The drone can effectively scout for weeds at a rate of 200 ha/hr, which makes it very quick and easy to scout a paddock and then go out and chip the five or so plants that might be left growing in a paddock,” says Tony. “This moves us closer to achieving 100 percent weed control. We have really driven down our weed numbers and significantly reduced the impact of herbicide resistance in our operation.” Occasionally, Tony will drive along the tramlines in the side-by-side and chip out any grass weeds in chickpeas that have either escaped control or germinated late in-crop. Then prior to harvest, Tony and John look for any patches of weeds that have escaped control and take action to prevent seed set. “If we find there is a patch of weeds getting away from us we don’t hesitate to sacrifice small areas of the crop to prevent seed set,” says Tony. “In 2020 we had a three or four hectare patch of ryegrass and decided to use a small slasher to mow the crop and weeds then sprayed the area with paraquat. That way we made sure the weeds did not set seed and prevented the spread of resistant weed seed at harvest.” The Singles do not spray any selective herbicides outside their cropped area and prior to harvest they slash a 2 m width of crop along fencelines to stop the header bringing weeds into the paddock from the fenceline. #6 – Harvest weed seed control Several years ago, the Singles trialed narrow windrow burning for harvest weed seed control but decided that the negative effects outweighed the weed control benefits. “For us, ground cover is supremely important for erosion control, reducing evaporation and increasing infiltration through the heavy clay soils,” says Tony. “We are watching the developments in impact mill technology and will most likely go down that path if we feel harvest weed seed control is needed in the future.”
Article
Case Study

Kurt Mayne, Rolleston Qld

Preserving the option for opportunity cropping is critical for Rolleston grain grower Kurt Mayne, but this means he needs to be careful with pre-emergent herbicides in his fallow weed control program. Kurt and his family operate a 6000 ha mixed farming operation of dryland grain production and backgrounding steers for feedlots at ‘Broken Plains’, 13 km east of Rolleston in Central Queensland. They grow chickpea and wheat every winter and summer crops when the opportunity presents on the 1400 ha of farmed country previously used for finishing cattle on leucaena (AKA tagasaste). Kurt Mayne bought a secondhand 36 m weedIT in early 2019 and can now spot spray their entire cropping area within two days. Wanting to keep one step ahead of herbicide resistance, Kurt took the opportunity to join a GRDC Grower Solutions study tour that included attending the 3-day WeedSmart Week event in Narrabri in 2018. He returned from the tour convinced that he needed to take extra steps to minimise the risk of herbicide resistance before it began to impact on his crop choices and profitability. “Optical spraying technology was the tactic that really stood out for me on the study tour,” says Kurt. “We bought a weedIT boom soon after I returned from the trip and I have been impressed with the benefits that have come with the addition of an optical sprayer to our weed control program.” “In our farming system it is hard to incorporate pre-emergent herbicides in the fallow because that can restrict our options for opportunity cropping over summer,” he says. “The optical sprayer makes fallow weed management much more effective, and when that’s combined with pulses in the rotation we are able to keep on top of grass weeds like feathertop Rhodes grass, which was getting increasingly difficult to manage.” The main weeds at ‘Broken Plains’ are feathertop Rhodes grass (FTR), milkthistle and fleabane – all notoriously hard to kill in fallow situations. Kurt bought a secondhand 36 m weedIT in early 2019 and can now spot spray their entire cropping area within two days. He also uses a tow-behind sprayer for their broadacre spray applications. Kurt says the pressure from FTR had led to an increasing need for cultivation to stop seed set and he saw that optical spray technology would mean he could reduce the amount and frequency of cultivation. “We use the weedIT to spot spray weeds with a double knock of glyphosate plus a Group I [Group 18], followed with paraquat; targeting these hard to kill weeds when they are small,” says Kurt. “No residuals are used in fallow because they can limit our options for summer cropping particularly.” “The aim is to keep the fallows weed-free so we have low weed numbers at planting,” he says. “Once a crop is planted we do use residuals to give it the best chance to grow ahead of any weeds that might emerge on the planting rains.” The weedIT has markedly reduced the amount of chemical applied in the fallow and reduced the time needed to do an application across the cropped area. Kurt is finding it much easier to apply the double knock tactic for glyphosate within the optimal timeframe. “Being able to get a proper double knock done when you need to, means you can get on with other jobs, knowing that you have done the best control treatment possible on the weeds,” says Kurt. Crops and varieties are chosen to maximise yield potential and this also means there is maximum suppression on weeds. Their crops are sown on 50 cm row spacing in a 12 m controlled traffic system, except for sorghum, which is grown on 1.5 m spacing. “We are basically farming moisture here, so if there is suitable rainfall we want to be in a position to take that opportunity to plant,” he says. “Sorghum and mungbean are the usual summer crop options, and we aim to be cropping for 10 months of the year if conditions allow.” In drier years the winter crops are sown deep, about 15 cm, to access available moisture. Chickpeas are particularly well suited to moisture seeking planting techniques. Kurt grades his own chickpea and wheat seed to remove weed seeds and ensure that the largest and most vigorous seeds are planted. He buys in mungbean and sorghum seed each season to maximise seedling vigour and establishment, and ensure the seed is weed-free. Chickpeas are particularly well suited to moisture seeking planting techniques. Kurt grades his own chickpea and wheat seed to remove weed seeds and ensure that the largest and most vigorous seeds are planted. Kurt uses a tyned planter and a single disc for nitrogen application. He has recently embarked on a program to apply ‘deep P’ across the cropped area. The phosphorus is applied about three months before planting at a rate of 250 kg/ha MAP at a depth of about 30-45 cm using a dozer. He has been very impressed with the crop response to the phosphorus application, which has clearly demonstrated that low phosphorus levels have been a constraint on production. The Maynes are seriously considering adding harvest weed seed control to their weed management program. Kurt sees real benefits in the chaff deck system that delivers the chaff onto the tram lines – both as a weed control tactic and a means of reducing the frequency of tram line renovation. On the cattle side of their business the Maynes buy in about 1600 feeder steers and run them for less than 12 months on 2800 ha of buffel and leucaena pasture.
Article
Case Study

Messina family, Mullewa WA

Mullewa growers Andrew and Rod Messina have been on a long and dedicated journey of weed management. Their 12 thousand ha dryland cropping enterprise is based on a predominantly sandplain soil type and the region generally expects 250 to 350 mm annual rainfall, but seasonal variability is often a challenge. The most recent innovations to be tested and adopted are real-time and localised herbicide application technology and impact mills for harvest weed seed control. The soils and rainfall limit the Messina’s crop choices but they use the available options of wheat, canola and lupins to their best advantage for herbicide and non-herbicide tactics to keep downward pressure on the weed seed bank. Mullewa farmer Andrew Messina says it’s amazing how quickly weed numbers come down after two or three years of integrated weed management practices, including harvest weed seed control. Photo: Fiona Mann “We have been doing whatever we can to reduce the seed bank for weeds, and we’ve been doing that for a long time now, particularly with mouldboard ploughing and harvest weed seed management,” Andrew said. “Weeds rule broadacre farming, there are no two ways about that – weeds and rainfall.” Over the years their efforts to reduce the weed burden across their controlled traffic farming operation have also included narrow windrow burning, chaff carts, autumn tickles, crop topping and double knocking glyphosate. “We find that when we buy a new property it always has a lot of weeds but after two or three years of integrated weed management practices, including harvest weed seed control, it’s amazing how quickly weed numbers come down,” Andrew said. Wild radish has always been the main weed challenging crop production on the Messina’s Spring Park Farms on the Eradu sandplain east of Geraldton. When herbicide resistant wild radish populations established on the farm the Messinas added pre-emergent to the in-crop herbicides in their weed management strategy. In 2020 the family sold their collection of chaff carts and bought three Integrated Harrington Seed Destructors (iHSD) in anticipation of a harvest dominated by cereals across 10,000 ha. The impact mills performed well through the 2020 harvest and the Messinas are very pleased to have dispensed with burning chaff dumps for harvest weed seed control. At the same time they have also moved into camera spot-spraying technology, initially for summer and fallow spraying but also for future potential for in-crop spot-spraying. Teaching technology to recognise weeds Their new 8000-litre Agrifac Condor Endurance II machine is equipped with weed-identifying cameras developed by French firm Bilberry, allowing for real-time weed detection and tailored herbicide application. “To have mechanically driven weed destructing mills on our harvesters, and this camera technology … it’s the most exciting thing I have seen in my farming life,” said Andrew. The system – called AiCPlus – uses optical cameras and microprocessors to identify weeds ahead of the 48-metre spray boom. Individual nozzles are then triggered as the boom passes overhead to spot spray the weeds. The cameras are fixed at 3 m apart, with each linked to the independent operation of nozzles within a set of 12 nozzles. Green-on-brown is the only commercially available technology available for this machine at present, but the Messinas have been busy assisting the system’s developers to trial its green-on-green capabilities. Arriving on farm in January 2020, a little later than expected, the Messinas used it to finish the summer weeds program on about 400 ha of their sandplain soils. Once the crops were planted, they then used it for nine days in young wheat crops in July and then again in August, traversing 14,000 ha at an average speed of 19 km/h. AiCPlus uses optical cameras and microprocessors to identify weeds ahead of the 48-metre spray boom. Photo Fiona Mann Its target was wild radish growing in paddocks of Scepter, Devil, Chief and Zen wheat. With each pass, the cameras captured images that depicted both the crop and weed at different times of day and under various light conditions. These images are being used to better inform the algorithm behind the technology. In 2021 the Messinas will be working with Bilberry to gather images to identify blue and white lupin in wheat crops. For the trial, they had allowed the radish plants to grow to a size that the cameras could easily detect, approximately 10 cm2, with the sprayer first being put to work on a paddock with a high weed burden, something that they would not usually do. In paddocks with high weed burdens, their aim is to knock out weeds early in their growth via a blanket spray, in a bid to conserve crop-available moisture. This would usually occur around the three-leaf stage in wheat. Andrew expects the efficiencies from green-on-green technology to come in subsequent sprays that targeted the low number of radish plants from later germinations. As a result of the family’s persistent weed-fighting efforts, most of their paddocks host only low densities of radish. In these paddocks, Andrew said a blanket spray would generally not be necessary. Having the impact mills fitted to their harvesters gives the Messinas full confidence to be involved with the development of the weed identification and spraying technology because they know that any weeds that escape treatment will be destroyed at harvest. “But when we were walking through the paddock, most of the weeds had been hit,” said Andrew. The 48 m Agrifac sprayer runs on the same trams as the harvester rather than the trams used by their other sprayers. By going to a wider boom and operating at 19 km/hr they can get over the same area as their 36 m sprayers running at 26 km/h. Addressing soil constraints The family started exploring soil constraints in 2008, mainly to determine if soil acidity, aluminium toxicity or nutrient deficiencies were limiting yields. Testing uncovered pH levels of around 5.3 to 5.5 at the surface and 4.4 to 4.6 at depth (30 cm). Non-wetting properties and compaction were also identified as potential limiting factors. They then embarked on a liming and mouldboard ploughing program to adjust the pH, treat non-wetting and bury weed seed. Their soils now feature pH levels in the range of 5.5 to 6.2. “For the past five years we have been deep ripping to depths of 60 to 70 cm prior to seeding wheat to maximise the ability of crops to access moisture and nutrition in the profile,” said Andrew. “We also spread two tonnes of lime per hectare ahead of the ripper every three years.” The overall result is better soil, better crop competition and less weeds. Andrew says the deep ripping has the potential to bring weed seed back to the surface, but this has only been evident on the edge of tram lines in a couple of paddocks where brome grass has re-surfaced. Stopping seed set at every opportunity The Messinas aim to stop seed set at every stage of the crop production and weed life cycle. Mouldboard ploughing and liming re-set the seed bank and removed soil constraints related to pH and non-wetting. Deep ripping ahead of planting (autumn tickle) stimulates a germination of weeds that are treated with a knockdown herbicide or double knock. Deep ripping also opens up the sandy profile to accept soil moisture and incorporate lime every three years. This encourages roots to seek nutrients and moisture and sets the crop up to compete well with weeds and reach the yield potential for the season. Pre-emergent herbicides are applied to give the crop a head start on weeds. One or two post-emergent sprays are applied as required in wheat for wild radish control. The AiCPlus camera sprayer will change broadacre spraying into spot-spraying for this key weed. Lupins and canola are crop-topped if required but crop-topping has not been necessary in recent years. All crops are treated with harvest weed seed control. The Messinas have achieved excellent weed seed control since they began with windrow burning in 1997 then moved to chaff carts in 2012 and now use iHSD impact mills. Summer spraying will now focus on spot-spraying with the AiCPlus camera sprayer. This case study is based in part on an original article written by Ann Rawlings with permission from the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia (www.spaa.com.au) and other sources.
Article
Case Study

Jason Rogers, Moree NSW

Jason Rogers targets summer grasses when they are small and fresh using a double knock of glyphosate and paraquat. In recent years he has moved into applying residual herbicides soon after harvest and GPS-marking any suspect weed patches to be treated with spot spraying or strategic tillage. Jason is also mixing and rotating fallow sprays to extend the efficacy of all available modes of action. Keeping weed numbers down, managing patches and minimising weed seed set has been a high priority for Jason Rogers, Moree. Barley and Clearfield canola provide early canopy closure and the strongest crop competition for winter weeds. Any isolated weed escapes in summer fallows or winter crops are targeted with spot spraying or chipping to maintain the low weed numbers. Jason runs a dryland winter cropping operation on fairly uniform heavy clay soils on his farms north-west of Moree. The crop rotation across seven fields in the controlled traffic system includes wheat, barley, chickpea, canola, linseed. He no longer grows summer crops due to seasonal constraints during the extended drought and poor returns. “Normally we grow wheat followed by barley, which gives a good amount of ground cover, and then one of the three break crops – canola, chickpea or linseed,” he says. “We have been looking at the possibility of fitting in a double-break of, say linseed and chickpea before returning to cereals.” The advantage would be to help take pressure off the selective herbicides in the cereal phase and mix things up a bit, but Jason is also conscious of the reduction in ground cover from a double break crop. The main weeds in the summer fallow are glyphosate-tolerant summer grasses such as windmill grass, awnless barnyard grass and feathertop Rhodes grass. Broadleaf weeds like fleabane, sowthistle and peach vine also pose a challenge, particularly because Group I hormone herbicides can not be used when nearby cotton crops are at sensitive growth stages. “We are mixing and rotating herbicide groups as much as possible and using more residual chemistry, to keep weed numbers low in the fallow,” he says. “This can have impacts on the rotation so we work with our agronomist to plan well head to make sure the residuals have broken down enough to not cause any issues for the following crop.” The fallow weed management program usually begins with a residual herbicide applied after harvest and then the double knock tactic is deployed multiple times during summer following any rainfall events. Jason uses IMI residuals applied after barley harvest to give residual control of grasses over summer and then returns with a Clearfield canola crop the next winter. He then avoids using the Group B chemistry for a few years to extend its useful life in his weed control program. For the double knock, glyphosate is often applied in a tank-mix with a Group G to help with broadleaf weed control, particularly near cotton paddocks. “We like to get in early to treat small fresh weeds, and come back a week or so later with paraquat,” says Jason. “When dealing with predominantly glyphosate-tolerant weed species we know how important it is to prevent weeds getting too mature. If persistent wet weather means we can’t get a ground application done in time we don’t hesitate to arrange a plane to apply the herbicide.” Jason does all the spray operations himself and takes the opportunity to map weedy patches using the John Deere software in the tractor as he travels across the paddocks. He has set up customised flags for each of the main weeds, such as feathertop Rhodes grass, windmill grass and awnless barnyard grass so he can monitor any hotspots. He then comes back to treat patches of say up to 10 m2, with strategic tillage using a chisel plough, spot spraying herbicide, or hand rouging or chipping. Jason also uses the flags to generate coordinates that he can easily send to his agronomist in Google Maps. For winter weeds Jason finds the diversity of the crop rotation allows for effective rotation of herbicide mode of action groups and the early vigour of canola and barley assists with weed suppression. “Using hybrid Clearfield canola varieties in the rotation gives us the ability to safely use the imi herbicides in the preceding fallow and in-crop as well as providing early canopy closure so very few weeds can grow and set seed in the canola phase,” says Jason. “Similarly in the barley, we get a free kick from solid crop competition through early vigour and high biomass production.” Jason has used a disc seeder since 2000 with a minimum row spacing of 375 mm in their 3 m wheel spacing controlled traffic system. Jason has used a disc seeder since 2000 with a minimum row spacing of 375 mm in their 3 m wheel spacing controlled traffic system. The high capital and maintenance cost of the seeder has been a disincentive to move to narrower rows however Jason knows there are potential weed control benefits in reducing the row spacing. Keeping weed numbers down, managing patches and minimising weed seed set has been a high priority for Jason and his integrated weed management program is working well. An important part of the program is a robust mix and rotate program to keep all available herbicide options open for as long as possible.

Videos

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Webinar

Considerations for pre-emergent herbicides with dry sowing

In this webinar, we focus on what factors influence the residual control of weeds by pre-emergent herbicides with a focus on Trifluralin, Sakura and new-to-market herbicides. Join Chris Davey, YPAG and WeedSmart Extension Agronomist and Mark Congreve, ICAN Senior Agronomist as they assess the sowing issues in South Australia and discuss strategies on using pre-emergents. Factors covered include Soil type/texture Rainfall forecast (after application) Characteristics of the herbicide Characteristics of the crop Sowing time (tine vs disc) – sowing depth, speed, soil throw, stubble Resistance status GRDC Spray Application Manual This Spray Application GrowNotes™ manual provides information on how various spraying systems and components work, along with those factors that the operator should consider to ensure the sprayer is operating to its full potential. This manual focuses on issues that will assist in maintaining the accuracy of the sprayer output while improving the efficiency and safety of spraying operations. It contains many useful tips for your spray operations.
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Webinar

Farmer questions answered on Group G herbicides and optimum application temperature

In this follow-up to last year’s webinar on Group Gs, Dr Chris Preston, University of Adelaide, Professor of Weed Management and WeedSmart’s Greg Condon focus on farmer questions around Group G herbicide use. They explain the new Group G chemistry in simple terms and address questions around what temperature range provides optimum herbicide efficacy.
Video
Video

How to make the right decision on using Group Gs in the Northern cropping system

Group Gs have a place in northern cropping systems both in summer and winter crop scenarios. We ask Andrew Somervaille to explain Group G use in both systems and the most optimum use of different Group G products given the range of seasonal conditions in the northern cropping region.

Fact Sheets

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Fact Sheet

Changes to herbicide Mode of Action (MoA) names

The global MoA classification system is based on numerical codes which provides infinite capacity to accommodate new herbicide MoA coming to market, unlike the alphabetical codes currently used in Australia. Farming is becoming increasingly global. Farmers, agronomists and academics around the world are now, more than ever, sharing and accessing information to assist them to grow crops, while managing sustainability issues such as herbicide resistant weeds. It’s important then that the herbicide MoA classification system utilised in Australia be aligned with the global classification system. This will ensure more efficient farming systems into the future and allow Australian farmers and advisors to access the most up-to-date information relating to managing herbicide resistance. CropLife Australia is working with key herbicide resistance management experts, advisors and the APVMA to ensure farmers and agronomists are aware of the planned changes. The numerical classification system should be fully implemented by the end of 2024. You can find further information by reading the factsheet and visiting the CropLife website here.
Fact Sheet

Sustainable glyphosate use in winter grain cropping systems in southern Australia

The number of glyphosate resistant weed species present in winter grain crops, along fencelines and in irrigation channels in Australia. You can reduce the risk of glyphosate resistance in weeds if you follow the recommended practices in this factsheet.
Fact Sheet

Sustainable glyphosate use in Australian vegetable production

The number of glyphosate resistant weed species present in Australian vegetable production systems is increasing. You can reduce the risk of glyphosate resistance in weeds if you follow the recommended practices in this factsheet.
Fact Sheet

Sustainable glyphosate use on roadsides, railways, public utilities and parks

The number of glyphosate resistant weed species present on Australian roadsides and railway lines is increasing. You can reduce the risk of glyphosate resistance in weeds if you follow the recommended practices in this factsheet.

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