Pressure on for weed control

11-07-2018 by admin

Good advice: Paul McIntosh, Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI), is urging growers to consider alternative weed control methods to minimise further development of resistance among pest weeds.These days it seems Queensland farmers are not only waking in the morning hoping for rain but wondering how tocontrol species of difficult weeds when rain does fall.

Accordingto Paul McIntoshfrom theAustralian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI), Australia is growing a reputation for having plenty of herbicide resistant weeds in its paddocks.

“We need to diversify with other weed control measures andmost importantly stopseed set in order to reduceresistance,” he said.

“This diversification drive is not only directed at our cropping rotations andalternatingour currentherbicidemodes of action, we should also examine the different methods of harvest weed seed control (HWSC).”

MrMcIntosh saidhe believedHWSCpractices would becomepart of Queensland farmers’weed control doctrineas they hadin Western Australian paddocks.

Contrary to popular belief,Mr McIntosh said Leslie Research Centre studies concluded grass plants such as Feathertop Rhodesretained 60 per cent or more of their seeds at harvest time.

“If we can collect these weedseeds from the header and put in chaff and weed seedpin trash windrows for burning, can you imagine the huge reduction in your weed seed bank in the soil?”

Mr McIntosh said another option was to use strategic cultivation techniques to buryweed seeds,where Feathertop Rhodesseedsbecame unviableatdepths of more than 50 millimetres.

“One Feathertop Rhodes plant can yield between 100,000 and 200,000 seeds so we need to diversify our control methods,” he said.

“The viability of this Feathertop Rhodesseed can be between four and 40 per cent, so minimum seeds and germination percentages can still result in 4000 seedlings- our herbicides are not going to continuously handle these huge numbers sustainably.”

Tony Bender, Hopelands, said milk thistle was now of great concern to farmers.

“Milk thistleused to be a winter weed but it’s adapting to our climate and you see it all year round now so we’ve got to change our methodology,” Mr Bender said.

With Glyphosate failing in many paddocks andlikely resistance to Paraquat and Group Aproducts also developing, Mr McIntosh encouraged farmers to strongly consider HWSC methods of weed control.

“Control of our serial pest weeds like barnyard grass, feathertop, fleabane and milk thistle can’t be taken lightly, however I concede it may be some time before HWSC methods are fully adopted in Queensland,” he said.

“We’re not at the tipping point where the different modes of herbicides are under complete failure yet, but at the same time we all assumed nothing could become resistant to Paraquat yetit’s starting to occurin horticultural pursuits-it’s important we consider other weed control options in our broadacre scene.”

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