Over the past two decades, feathertop Rhodes grass has gone from being a minor cropping weed to a major problem for northern – and now some southern – growers. However, with an integrated weed management approach, effective control is possible.
- Feathertop Rhodes grass (FTR) is well established in the northern grains region and is emerging as a problem in the south.
- FTR can be relatively tolerant to glyphosate, especially after early tillering.
- The only way to control FTR effectively is to use an integrated weed management (IWM) approach.
- Focus on running down the weed seedbank and preventing seed set.
- Choose competitive cultivars and use planting densities to improve crop competition.
- Select crops that allow the in-crop use of grass-selective (Group A) herbicides and residual herbicides. If FTR is concentrated in a particular paddock, rotate away from crops with limited FTR control options (such as sorghum).
- Group A herbicides have a high risk of resistance developing, so only use them as part of a carefully considered IWM plan. If Group A is made redundant, all in-crop grass management options are lost.
- Always sow crops into weed-free conditions.
- Pre-emergent herbicides will be most effective when applied prior to sowing rain.
- The double-knock tactic can be effective, and there are a number of available options.
- The efficacy of herbicides against FTR drops rapidly when plants are larger than the
- early tillering stage or are moisture stressed, so spray as soon as possible after rain
- for best results.
- Delay sowing of summer crops on paddocks with a high density of FTR.
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