This season’s planting conditions have left the region’s grain growers with the dilemma of weeds germinating at the same time as crops, potentially making in-crop weed management difficult.
Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) manager grower services Sharon O’Keeffe says a late break to the season and some dry planting means weed management could be a major winter crop issue.
“Most floodplains had good subsoil moisture but some growers did sow on less than adequate surface moisture and there may be some agronomic management concerns, particularly where wet harvest conditions allowed last year’s weeds to set seed,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
“The short-term issues for this year’s crop are going to be weed management, particularly in dry-sown crops or where a good pre-sowing spray wasn’t achieved, followed by potential issues around disease and pest management.”
Ms O’Keeffe says GRDC has funded extensive research into early post-emergent herbicide application through the research groups it exclusively funds, the Northern Grower Alliance (NGA) and Grain Orana Alliance (GOA).
“One- to three-year priority issues are very important because seasons change and while there is always a need for medium and longer term research, short-term research can get our growers the gains in that current year,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
“They have current agronomic problems and they need them to be fixed.”
She says she is receiving feedback from growers that weed management changes on a year-to-year basis and as some of the older chemistries aren’t as effective as they used to be and there is a lot more science needed behind Integrated Weed Management (IWM) than in previous decades.
“Growers need to be targeting weeds when they are smaller rather than larger and be on top of what’s happening in the paddock.”
NGA is running six trials this winter cropping season to evaluate both knockdown and subsequent residual control of fleabane with key in-crop winter cereal herbicides.
NGA chief executive officer Richard Daniel says the aim is to identify robust winter crop strategies to limit or avoid the difficulty of controlling fleabane ‘escapes’ in the summer fallow.
“A range of application volumes will also be included, following encouraging results in 2011,” Mr Daniel said.
For more information on GRDC-funded weed management research, visit www.grdc.com.au/weedlinks.