Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Overcoming Herbicide Resistant Weeds

This issue is an important one in Australian agriculture especially in areas with annual ryegrass as a weed.  While there are also some areas with herbicide resistance in summer grass and some other weedy species, it is the annual ryegrass issue now more regularly occurring in much of the temperate grain production areas.

Worryingly, a recent survey has highlighted the poor knowledge that farmers have about the issue in general.  Alternately though, it seems consultants and advisors are quite knowledgeable about management of problems.  But it is imperative that the issue is addressed through management on farm.  This work was done by Monsanto on glyphosate and reported here -

Loss of major herbicides would be a disaster, at least in the short term.

A recent innovation in WA by one farmer has been work on developing an amended chaff collection system, which allows in paddock burning of the collected weed seeds. More here -

and a video here -

But this farmer also uses standard recommended practices of rotating herbicides, crops and managing the weedy species to prevent seeding [ through hay production prior to seeding]. 

There is also a new seed destructor system now appearing in some areas, which destroys the seeds after harvest.
Harrington Seed Destructor - tow behind model and there are a few more articles on this system on the GRDC web site - and search.

Managing herbicide resistance is not an easy task but a necessary one, and using low doses inadequate to kill all the target weeds is not a sensible option, and false economy.

What is at stake is the continued use and development of minimum tillage, seen as a great advance in cropping over the past 40 years, and certainly contributing to lowered costs and greater efficiencies in grain production systems, generally world wide, not just Australia.

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