Harvest weed seed control – practical implications for growers and advisers
Author: Craig Davis (Craig Davis Agronomy) | Date: 21 Aug 2019
Take home messages
- Harvest weed seed control is the final chance in the annual cropping cycle to reduce weed seed bank replenishment.
- Management of herbicide resistance needs effective weed seed control.
- Harvest weed seed control techniques vary widely in cost, reliability and ease of management.
Adoption of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) techniques is gaining momentum in many grain growing regions throughout Australia due to their demonstrated ability in limiting the impact of herbicide resistant weeds and their effective integration into current farming practices, often without too much cost.
To achieve the best results from HWSC it is important to target the most suitable weed species, which are present at low-moderate density levels. In the southern grain growing region these are ryegrass, wild radish and bedstraw (pers. obs.).
Identifying a suitable HWSC technique can be challenging as there are many options to choose from. When making a choice it is important to consider how they fit into your farming operation system. For example:
- Do you use controlled traffic or tramlining?
- Is grazing the by-product of rows or chaff dumps an option?
- Is burning an option in your environment?
- Etc, etc.
To get the best benefit from HWSC, it is important to plan early to identify any required machinery modifications and to consider harvest management.
It is critical to harvest low and harvest early which may not be an option with all crops when prioritising crop yield. Consequently, it is important to target HWSC deployment within the most suited crops/paddocks.
Harvest weed seed control is the final chance in the annual cropping cycle to reduce weed seed bank replenishment. Its application improves weed control outcomes especially when dealing with herbicide resistant weeds. The techniques available vary widely in their cost, reliability and ease of management so it’s important to consider all options carefully before making your choice.
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