Early work saves money

Gatton Star - - INTO RURAL LIFE -

EARLY and ef­fec­tive con­trol of sum­mer weeds will be high on the to-do list for grow­ers with the start of the storm sea­son.

Re­cent rains across much of the re­gion have been ideal for a flush of sum­mer weeds.

The Grains Re­search and Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (GRDC) is en­cour­ag­ing grow­ers to im­ple­ment con­trol tac­tics early to boost wa­ter use ef­fi­ciency, pre­serve pre­cious stored soil mois­ture and nu­tri­ents, im­prove her­bi­cide ef­fi­cacy and pest and dis­ease con­trol and pro­tect the yield po­ten­tial of fu­ture crops.

GRDC Crop Pro­tec­tion Of­fi­cer North Vicki Green said most grow­ers were aware that early sum­mer weed con­trol could de­liver sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic, agro­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits.

“In sum­mer, the dif­fer­ence be­tween ef­fec­tive and in­ef­fec­tive weed con­trol is a mat­ter of days, not weeks,” she said.

“Weeds can make or break ef­fi­cient wa­ter stor­age,” she said.

“As a gen­eral rule, if sum­mer weeds are al­lowed to es­tab­lish, they will start ex­tract­ing wa­ter from depth – more than 100mm depth – within about 12 days of es­tab­lish­ment.

“That is wa­ter that could be used to grow a crop.

“Our re­search has shown that ev­ery dol­lar in­vested in sum­mer weed con­trol gen­er­ates an av­er­age re­turn of $5, with early con­trol en­hanc­ing the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits.”

As part of their sum­mer pri­or­i­ties’ list, Mrs Green said it was im­por­tant grow­ers had spray equip­ment ready and ad­hered to spray ap­pli­ca­tion ad­vice on chem­i­cal and wa­ter rate, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions, droplet size and boom height.

“Weed con­trol is gen­er­ally more ef­fec­tive if plants are sprayed when they are small,” she said.

“Leav­ing them too long can be a costly fail­ure, re­quir­ing ad­di­tional con­trol mea­sures and risk­ing the devel­op­ment of her­bi­cide re­sis­tance on farm.

“The most ex­pen­sive spray is a failed spray.

“Ef­fi­cacy is also im­pacted by tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity, travel and wind speed, droplet size and vis­cos­ity of spray so it’s im­por­tant from a cost/ ben­e­fit per­spec­tive to ad­here to best man­age­ment rec­om­men­da­tions on spray equip­ment and con­di­tions.”

She said an ad­di­tional ben­e­fit of early sum­mer weed con­trol was it de­stroyed the green bridge (weeds and vol­un­teer ce­re­als) that could har­bour pests and diseases be­tween sea­sons.

PHOTO: FILE

GET CRACK­ING: Re­cent rain has cre­ated ideal con­di­tions for a flush of sum­mer weeds, and grow­ers should im­ple­ment con­trol tac­tics early to save mois­ture and money.

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