Get a head start on summer fallow management

Author: | Date: 13 Aug 2014

Image of a tall fleabane and a flaxleaf fleabane.

Western Australian grain growers can get a head start on summer fallow weed management by controlling fleabane early.

Andrew Storrie, of Agronomo, said fleabane was a major weed of WA summer fallows, particularly in the State’s southern cropping areas, and normally germinated in late August or early September.

Mr Storrie and John Cameron, of ICAN, have co-authored a new reference manual Summer Fallow Weed Management, published by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), which demonstrates how growers can reap a high return on investment from managing summer weeds.

“If growers receive rainfall events of more than 10mm in coming weeks and have a history of fleabane in their district, they are likely to have fleabane germinating in their paddocks,” Mr Storrie said.

“Areas to watch out for are paddocks that have previously harboured fleabane, as well as fence lines and road borders.”

Mr Storrie said growers who found fleabane should consult an agronomist for advice on control options.

“GRDC funded trials conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) have shown that fleabane can most effectively be controlled when plants are at the rosette stage,” he said.

“Mature fleabane is difficult and expensive to kill, especially in mid to late summer.”

Mr Storrie said fleabane was a wind-borne, surface germinating weed that thrived in situations of low competition and was favoured by conditions associated with minimum tillage.

“The most common of three fleabane species present in WA is flaxleaf fleabane (Conyza bonariensis),” he said.

The Summer Fallow Weed Management manual draws heavily on data produced by the acclaimed GRDC-funded Water Use Efficiency Project. 

The manual provides essential information on the value of stored water; the effects of summer weeds on nitrogen; other weed effects on following crops; use of herbicides in the fallow; and effective spray application.

It also includes grower and researcher case studies and research data.

The Summer Fallow Weed Management manual is available for viewing and downloading via the GRDC website at or hard copies can be ordered through the GRDC’s Ground Cover Direct, free phone 1800 11 00 44 or email

Information about fleabane is also available at the GRDC Integrated Weed Management Hub and the WeedSmart website


Contact Details

For Interviews

Andrew Storrie, Agronomo
0428 423 577


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code ICN00012, CSP00111

Region West

GRDC Project code: ICN00012, CSP00111