Growers embrace herbicide resistance management 102
“Herbicide resistance is manageable”.
This is a claim that some central western NSW farmers might have queried prior to a recent Grains Research and Development (GRDC) sponsored study tour to Western Australia to investigate the strategies, economics and benefits of effective herbicide resistance management.
If so, their views were altered dramatically during the `Herbicide Resistance 102’ tour when 26 Delta Agribusiness clients and agronomists spent six days visiting farms and research facilities, attending a field day and meeting with herbicide resistance researchers and industry representatives.
Tour organiser and GRDC northern panel member Penny Heuston said there had been a massive increase in herbicide resistant weeds across the central western areas of NSW in recent years including annual ryegrass, black oats, windmill grass, barnyard grass and more recently, wild radish to Group I chemicals.
Herbicide resistance management has been identified by the GRDC-funded Grower Solution Group, Grain Orana Alliance (GOA), as one of the key challenges confronting farming systems in the region.
Ms Heuston said while growers were aware of the non-chemical tools available to manage the problem, many were unsure of the economics and practicalities of adopting them for weed seed management.
“The purpose of the trip was to encourage central western farmers, many of whom have started to undertake some herbicide resistance management strategies, to interact with other growers who are a lot further down the track in managing this issue,” Ms Heuston said.
“Many growers in our region have been questioning whether windrow burning is an appropriate strategy for their operation, whether they can afford to go down the chaff cart route, whether sowing rates should be increased, row spacings decreased or whether they should consider changing their row alignment.“The tour aimed to help them answer some of these questions and facilitate learning about the practicalities of utilising non-chemical management tools.”
Ms Heuston said the response from participants at the conclusion of the tour was overwhelmingly positive with many saying they now had the confidence and practical information to implement an effective integrated management strategy for controlling problem weeds and weed seedbanks.
“The message that effective herbicide resistance management requires dedication, persistence and a good integrated strategy was reinforced over and over again during the trip,” she said.
“It was extremely obvious during our farm visits that if done well, herbicide resistance management is not only achievable but can deliver significant productivity and profitability gains.”
For information on herbicide sustainability visit the WeedSmart information hub at www.weedsmart.org.au
Penny Heuston, GRDC Northern Region panellist, Warren
0428 474 845
Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
0418 152 859
GRDC Project Code IDA10839