Detection technology maximises fallow control

A photo of a WeedSeeker boomsprayTony Cooke, NSW DPI

(Above) Weed detection technology like this WeedSeeker® boomspray is said to allow growers to apply contact herbicides across just two per cent of their paddocks, saving considerably on herbicide use.

(Right) Tony Cooke
PHOTO: Nicole Baxter

Tony Cook of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries highlighted the benefits of early detection of weed survivors.

“We should be aiming to annihilate small patches of weeds before they blow out and become a problem, and that’s where weed detection technology hopefully will fit,” he said.

Mr Cook said 200 Australian growers are now using weed detection technology. He said it allows users to apply contact herbicides across just two per cent of their paddocks and save a significant amount of money. The benefits of the technology are better control of moisture-stressed weeds (during a summer fallow), the ability to maintain conservation farming practices, less need for hand-weeding of small weed patches, reduced herbicide drift, the ability to spray at night, less refill time and reduced herbicide waste.

Mr Cook said weed detection technology is a useful tool for combating glyphosate resistance because herbicides with seven modes of action are permitted for use during the fallow period.

He said weed detection technology also reduces spray failures by using higher rates of herbicides. “This technology may delay the creeping resistance issues we’ve got out in the paddock. Creeping resistance [where there is gradual evolution of resistance to a certain herbicide] is thought to initiate in paddocks that receive repeated marginal rates of herbicide.”

Another advantage is it lowers the cost of employing the double-knock technique, where a systemic herbicide such as glyphosate is applied, followed by a contact herbicide such as paraquat.  

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