Four emerging weeds on WA research hit-list
New research aims to arm Western Australian grain growers with information to help them manage four difficult-to-control weed species emerging in the State’s farming systems.
Feathertop Rhodes grass (FTR) (Chloris virgata), matricaria (Oncosiphon spp.), marshmallow (Malva parviflora) and stinking lovegrass (Eragrostis cilianensis) are the focus of the research led by the Department of Agriculture and Food’s Alex Douglas with funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
The work is part of the GRDC ‘Locally Important Weeds’ project which also involves the University of Adelaide and CSIRO carrying out research into emerging weeds in Australia’s southern cropping region.
Mrs Douglas said the four weeds being investigated in WA were selected following consultation with GRDC Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSNs), prominent WA consultants, the GRDC Western Regional Panel and grower groups.
“These weeds are of local importance but have not previously been the subject of major research projects,” she said.
“Our understanding of the biology and ecology of these localised weed species is extremely limited and growers have been challenged when it comes to managing them.
“Information on the life of their weed seed-bank (persistence) is critical for growers to be able to develop practices to manage them.”
Mrs Douglas said that as well as providing growers with information about the biology and ecology of the targeted weed species, the project would investigate a range of practical management options.
“A range of experiments will explore the efficacy of herbicide mixtures and knockdowns applied at various times during the growing season and a series of best practice guides will then be developed,” she said.
“The weed biology and management information will also be used to update the weed models Ryegrass Integrated Management (RIM) and Weed Seed Wizard.
“Once updated, these tools can be used by consultants and growers to further understand the impact of management decisions on these weeds.
“Better weed management based on weed seed biology will reduce the impact of locally emerging weeds on crop production and increase farm profitability through reduced yield losses, lower costs of control and reduced contamination of grain.”
Alex Douglas, DAFWA
08 9821 3246
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827