In-crop weed dramas

BEATING THE WEEDS: The Emar Chaff Deck  has been in operation in Queensland for the past summer.
BEATING THE WEEDS: The Emar Chaff Deck has been in operation in Queensland for the past summer. Paul McIntosh

BACK onto weeds again as that is our biggest issue facing us when it does decide to rain and it will rain buckets when it occurs. We are coming up to another winter crop planning time and many of our paddocks are not flash with subsoil moisture in reality.

So apart from a lack of sub soil moisture, our resident weed seed banks have just been waiting for the good moisture conditions to arrive with compliments of some large consecutive rainfall patterns to occur in autumn or maybe even into winter time.

What happens if the big rain arrives after you have planted your winter crop? Sure, chickpeas are easier than cereals and some balance (isoxaflutole) plus triazine applied immediately after the planting operation has been a great residual weed control mainstay for us in last nearly two decades and a real saviour for weed control performance in our favourite winter legume crop.

What about in-crop weed control in wheat and barley crops that could attract some big dollars per tonne in the domestic market this winter with the grain sorghum plantings in the eastern states down possibly over 70 per cent?

So we have this plethora of weed seeds in the soil and very possibly no large rains to germinate them now or later, for knock down herbicides or last minute cultivations to be brought to bear on them.

Enter then in-crop weed control dilemmas. So up they come post-plant at some stage and if this turns out to be correct, I am not discounting getting a flush of winter and summer weeds emerging in our potential warm winter occasions.

Weeds like black oats, milk thistle (sowthistle), turnip, radish, and the winter weed list goes on, plus spring ones like fleabane etc and they will be hard to control with our normal crop safety type selective herbicide products.

So lots of suppositions here, however in all my years of experience, these scenarios can occur and with herbicide resistance increasing, the problem can no longer fobbed off with a big rate of selective herbicide at an appropriate time.

You really do need to consider some cultural weed control options like the Emar Chaff Deck.

By no means is it a 100 per cent complete control of your weeds, however let us look at its designed features and advantages for putting any weed seeds captured by the header comb front, then coming out in the pin trash or chaff fraction of the header onto your controlled traffic wheel tracks.

This action does not immediately kill them or destroy them, however it is a big step up to positioning them in some very hostile growing areas of flattened and compacted wheel tracks.

So these collected weed seeds sit in this wheel track area in damp and compacted conditions and either rot or try to germinate and grow.

So instead of re-spreading your healthy weed seeds across the back of the header, they are collected onto one distinct area of wheel tracks.

So between the harsh growing conditions for the weed seedlings possible survival, these seedlings can be strip worked or band sprayed are logical possibilities if they emerge at all.

Even sheep have grazed on these weedy controlled traffic areas in southern zones. Anecdotally the reports have been from southern farming operations that they believe they are reducing their weed population about 60 per cent every pass.

Can we expect the same up here with our summer and winter Northern weeds? From what I have observed down south I believe we can, however it may be an average over five years rather just a specific result each year.

These add on pieces of basically two draper conveyor belts to the back end of the header are very robust, very adjustable, easy to self-install and have no impact on header speed or efficiency.

The reasonable price tag for the kit was less than $15,000. So achieving significant weed seed control with no herbicides is a good result for prolonging and making more effective your current suite of herbicides and still leaves the plough in the shed with your stubble standing upright doesn't it. A good result and worthy of your examination for this alternate weed control method.

Topics:  seeds weed control weeds

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