An army of grain growers is spreading out across Western Australia, kitted out with the latest weapons to fight herbicide resistance after attending a recent series of Integrated Weed Management (IWM) workshops in Moora, Wyalkatchem, Darkan, Nyabing, Green Range and Kendenup.
The workshops have been funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) as part of its efforts to help build a sustainable and profitable grains industry. More are likely to be held in Western Australia later in the year.
Coordinated and presented by Andrew Storrie of Agronomo, the workshops highlighted the need to take action on weeds, and particularly seed banks, to delay the establishment of resistance and deal with it once it occurs.
“We wanted growers to walk away with a greater understanding of how herbicide resistance develops and what they can do about it,” Mr Storrie said.
“Feedback so far has been positive, with growers indicating in exit surveys that they plan to change their weed management practices as a result of attending.
“Ideas that growers from WA are taking away include doing more seed testing so they know what herbicides they can still use.
“They’re also planning more monitoring, a greater commitment to weed seed set prevention and using more double knock.”
Organisers of the workshops have been contacting participants of a previous round last year to see how their tactics have actually changed on-farm due to the information provided.
Mr Storrie says most of them believe they have a greater understanding of the role and impact of crop rotations and of weed seed bank dynamics.
“Asked about the integration of multiple weed management tactics to reduce the seed bank, the most common response is that ‘their use had increased a lot’.
“Specific tactics they’ve changed since participating in the workshop, and which have had the great benefit, include:
• varying herbicide use and options
• using crop rotations to allow use of a wider range of weed control tactics
• crop competition and double knock tactics
• windrowing and hay cutting
• and, most importantly, developing a longer term weed management plan for individual paddocks and the property.
“They’re also talking about IWM more often with advisers and / or looking for information from other sources,” Mr Storrie said.
“Herbicide resistance is a fact of life for growers these days, whether they already have it on their property or not.
“Hopefully these workshops will help them deal with the issue more easily, as well as limit the spread and impact of resistance.”
Any growers interested in attending workshops in future should contact Mr Storrie on 0428 423 577.
A range of IWM resources and contact details for experts in Western Australia is available on the GRDC website at www.grdc.com.au/weedlinks