Ag News

Harvest weed seed management

  • By: Farm Tender "Prime"
  • Oct 23, 2017

Harvest is only a few short weeks away from commencing in Victoria, and plans are in place for what could potentially be another reasonable harvest.  

We know that stubble management begins at harvest, but there’s excellent opportunities for weed management as well, and decision making now may impact on weed seed numbers in future years.  

Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) estimates that weeds cost Australian agriculture more than $4 billion a year.

Evolution of resistant weeds is also having a negative effect on grower’s ability to control and combat weeds in an efficient and effective manner.

We know and understand if the industry continues to use herbicides like glyphosate they will become ineffective, which will be detrimental to the whole industry.

At harvest time options are available to help reduce the seed bank of weeds that mature at similar timings to the crop.

Some examples include cutting the crop for hay, crop topping, narrow-windrow burning, chaff carts, chaff decks, and more expensive options such as the Harrington Seed Destructor.

Over the 2009 to 2011 growing season, BCG investigated the effectiveness of four different weed seed set control strategies with an aim of driving down the seedbank without reducing yields in cereal-intensive cropping systems.

This trial was undertaken as part of the GRDC-funded project ‘improving integrated weed management in conservation farming systems’.

The four management options trialed were chaff-cart, crop topping, hay-cutting and narrow windrow-burning, with the hay-cutting treatment being the best strategy for rapidly reducing ryegrass numbers as a result of reducing the ability of the weed to set seed through early management.

However, this option was the least profitable during these seasons, but reduction in profitability from one year’s ha...
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