Letters to the editor

Ground Cover helped decision

A client of ours came in to have a look at silos. His comments were that things were pretty tight and that he did not know if he could afford to buy any silos. In the course of showing him silos I also showed him the gas-tight silos and explained the benefits. As he was unsure if he could afford the silos in the first place, he did not think that the extra cost of gas-tight silos could be considered. Subsequently he phoned to order. He ordered gas-tight silos and volunteered the fact that it was the Ground Cover article that convinced him of the need to install the latest 'technology'.

Andrew Kotzur
Modern Engineering and Construction
Walla Walla NSW

Old idea has new value

In the past, before they had the luxury of herbicides, farmers struggled to prevent weeds from seeding because they knew these weed seeds would cause problems the following years. One practice involved limiting the return to the paddock of any weed seed processed through the header at harvest.

Weed seed harvested with the crop was captured in the header by secondary screens and then bagged off so that it could not recontaminate the paddocks. For some weed species such as ryegrass, in which the seed remains on the standing plants until harvest, this is an effective method of reducing seed return to the paddock.

Today, however, few farmers capture weed seeds in harvesting because, with the advent of modern herbicides, increasing farm size and machinery, it has been more cost-effective to blow the weed seeds back onto the paddock with the trash and then control the weeds next year with a good herbicide. But with the widespread appearance of herbicide resistance in ryegrass and other weeds, it is time to reconsider this old practice.

In the just published issue of Ground Cover there was a timely article reporting on harvester additions which can do just this, without involving huge dollars. GRDC-funded research in WA and in our SA program (harvester modification) has shown that about 80 per cent of ryegrass seed can be captured in the harvest operation. Effects on other weed species will be evaluated this coming harvest. This simple, economical and practical method has, I believe, a massive potential in Australian agriculture and I urge Australian farmers and advisors to consider the benefits.

(Dr) Stephen B Powles
University of Adelaide

Attention Bettong oats growers

Your article on Bettong oats interests me as a replacement for Mortlock oats. I have tried contacting Dr Alan McKay on the listed number and it appears disconnected.

Could you put me in contact with a grower to discuss this years crop with the possibility of supplying us some seed.

Trevor, 'Thylungra' York WA
Tel: 096 414 031 Fax: 096 251 304

Can anyone help?

I have been reading Issue 3 of Ground Cover and find sections on new wheat releases on page 7 of the issue. I am a farmer and would like to grow some Cadoux noodle wheat and some 81Y:971 hard wheat. Could I have some information on these two wheats availabililty and sources?

Also, on page 11 an item by Bob Freebairn about Franklin barley as a malting variety, I would like a contact if possible.

Our farm is in the Yorke Valley just south of Maitland and has a 500 mm rain fall. The soil is heavy brown loam to limestone (fine) loams. Please write and let us know if any of these wheats or Franklin barley are available for 1994.
Robert M Honner
Box 41 Maitland SA 5573