Harvest weed seed control 'low cost'


Chaff carts and stubble windrow burning for harvest weed seed control can be just as effective in the Albany port zone as they are in the State's northern cropping regions.

This is a finding outlined in a new booklet containing case studies of Albany port zone grain growers using low cost, innovative methods of weed seed collection or destruction.

Ready in time for the 2013 harvest, it is an initiative of the Grains Research and Development Corporation Albany port zone Regional Cropping Solutions Network and was produced by the Department of Agriculture and Food, with support from the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative and growers.

Project leader Alex Douglas, of DAFWA, said excellent harvest weed seed control studies had previously been conducted in WA's northern and central grainbelt, but less had been known about effective methods used by growers in southern areas where seasonal conditions were unique.

"Harvest weed seed control provides growers with the opportunity to more effectively manage weed populations and allows them to move away from the almost complete reliance on herbicides for weed control," she said.

"The consequence of this is that growers then have more flexibility in the overall management of their cropping program."

Ms Douglas said the seven farming families featured in the case studies had all used harvest management techniques for a number of seasons, and in some cases had tried more than one option. "All of the growers have made modifications to the system they are using to tailor it to their specific needs," she said.

These modifications include adapting conveyors to chaff carts to maximise chaff capture, altering the position of the chaff fraction on the stubble windrow to optimise weed seed burning or baling and applying harvest weed seed control techniques to specific crop types.

As well as case studies, the booklet contains information about different harvest weed seed control tools and their cost, the role of harvest weed seed control techniques in driving weed numbers down and resources for further information.

The booklet can be downloaded from www.grdc.com.au/CaseStudy-WeedSeedHarvest-Albany .

A limited number of hard copies are available from Regional Cropping Solutions Network co-ordinator Julianne Hill, email regionalcroppingsolutions@gmail.com or phone 9726 1307.

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