Trifluralin could be used for oats

Jo FulwoodThe West Australian
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An application for the approval of the pre-emergent herbicide trifluralin for minor use on oat crops could see it available as early as next season.

The Grains Industry Association of WA has applied to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for the registration of the chemical, which inhibits root development of annual grasses and broadleaf weeds.

Herbicide trials run in Narrogin by ConsultAg and GIWA are demonstrating trifluralin, when used in conjunction with Diuron, is providing the highest levels of control of ryegrass and other grasses in oat crops.

Traditionally, trifluralin has been known to kill oats if not used correctly, and is not currently registered for use on oat crops.

According to ConsultAg agronomist Garren Knell, the trials, while identifying the effectiveness of trifluralin, were also run to give growers guidance in regard to a range of herbicides for use on oat crops.

Mr Knell said oat crops had fewer herbicide options than other cereals, and farmers who planned on growing oats in the 2016 season should set up their paddocks for weed control this year.

He said trial results showed the newly registered chemical Turbine was proving effective in the suppression of broadleaf weeds, and also hard-to-control grasses such as brome and barley grass.

However, he said Turbine was not effective on ryegrass in this year's trial. "We found in the trial where the only grass was ryegrass, Turbine didn't add significant value for ryegrass control," he said.

Mr Knell said with oat pricesstrong , more growers may consider planting oats in the 2016 season.

But he warned that wall-to-wall oats was not the answer for the industry.

"You need to be careful where you are planning to put them so you can set paddocks up now, or assess the paddocks for weed issues during the spring," he said.

"Oats need to be planted into clean paddocks, given your herbicide options are limited when compared with other cereals."

Mr Knell said growers looking to sow oats for the first time should consider their marketing and end-user options.

"The demand for oats is bigger than it historically has been, but it's not infinite," he said. "Growers who are looking at growing oats for the first time have to have their marketing sorted out. They have to know their grain has a home."

Mr Knell said oats planted for grain were a very different crop to oats planted for hay.

"While hay and oats are the same plant, they are different crops," he said.

"Oats planted for grain need clean paddocks, deep sandy loam soils that don't run out of moisture in a hurry and a soft finish if you are in a lower rainfall area. Hay can handle weedy paddocks, higher seeding rates and doesn't need the last rain of the season."

Mr Knell said early-sown oats were more competitive with ryegrass than other cereals.

He warned growers in the lower rainfall zones should carefully consider their oat variety.

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