The ryegrass X-Factor


Annual ryegrass is the biggest single burden for the Richardson family’s Gnowangerup cropping enterprise, hence being able to effectively control it is a big priority.

In recent seasons they have adopted a new herbicide, Factor, into the program and it has given them the upper hand in controlling annual ryegrass.

Ross and Kathy Richardson farm a property spanning 7287ha with their two sons, Digby and Elliot, near Gnowangerup.

The family crops 4049-4453ha in a program comprising mainly of wheat, barley, canola, lupins and oats. They also run a Merino stud, Mianelup, and are running 1100 stud ewes and 1800 ewes in a commercial flock.

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According to Mr Richardson, annual ryegrass had been an ongoing issue in their cropping program and they had noticed that their usual “go-to” herbicide for canola and lupins, clethodim, was becoming less effective.

“Ryegrass is our biggest single problem weed, as well as brome grass. Radish is also getting more difficult to handle,” he said.

“We were looking for something to boost clethodim a bit, as we had noticed it was becoming weaker and we weren’t getting as effective control of ryegrass in our canola and lupins.”

The Richardsons’ agronomist, Tom McInerney from FarmWorks Gnowangerup, recommended they try Factor herbicide from Crop Care.

Factor is a group A post-emergent herbicide using butroxydim as its active ingredient to control grass weeds, including annual ryegrass.

It can also be mixed with other grass selective herbicides for greater weed control in a wide range of broadleaf crops, including summer and winter pulses, oilseeds and pastures.

It is fast-acting, so there is less competition from weeds during the early stages of crop development.

Mr Richardson said they applied Factor when their canola reached the four-leaf stage or more (but prior to stem elongation), using a self-propelled sprayer. It is applied at 80g/ha, mixed with clethodim, ammonium sulphate and an adjuvant, with the water rate at 80L/ha. Factor in a mix with clethodim offers the greatest chance of controlling ryegrass.

“We’ve been working with Tom for a while now and he’s experienced and capable, so we take his advice on board,” he said.

“We first used factor in the 2014/15 season and we were very pleased with the result, so it’s likely that we’ll use it again this year.”

Mr Richardson said with Factor, they noticed a faster knockdown compared to straight clethodim and, overall, a better result.

He said being able to introduce a new active ingredient into their program was important in managing annual ryegrass herbicide resistance.

“It’s another tool for us really, which is what we need as we’ve been quite limited in the past with what we can use to control ryegrass in lupins or canola. It’s really only been clethodim,” Mr Richardson said.

“There was a quicker knockdown with Factor and it was noticeably more effective.

“If you’ve got a ryegrass problem, I’d say Factor is definitely worth considering.”

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