Weeds hit list

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Windmill grass continues to establish itself in Central West NSW and scientists fear it may threaten the benefits gained from minimum-till farming systems.

CEO of the Dubbo-based and GRDC-funded Grain Orana Alliance (GOA), Maurie Street, says some effective herbicide-control options have been identified, including the double-knock technique.

“Windmill grass has been confirmed as glyphosate-resistant and is quickly becoming one of the region’s most problematic weeds in zero-till summer fallows,”

Mr Street said. “The use of herbicides which are generally not effective has seen the weed infest paddocks at an ever-increasing rate and the recent identification of glyphosate resistance adds further to the difficulties of control.” Mr Street says further work by GOA this year will compare glyphosate formulations.

“We will see an increased focus on developing our understanding and controlling this weed both locally and from a national perspective.”

Mr Street says windmill grass has rapidly increased in prominence, especially in zero-till systems. He says surveys have linked the weed’s prominence with the removal of grazing and cultivation from the cropping system and reliance on ineffective herbicides.

“As such, it challenges these systems and threatens to see a need for cultivation to control it. This could jeopardise or at least reduce many of the gains that zero-till systems have offered.”

The GRDC has made a significant investment in windmill grass research and trials have continued this winter.

More information: GRDC Weedlinks, www.grdc.com.au/weedlinks; www.grdc.com.au/GOA00002

GRDC Project Code GOA00002

Region North, South, West