Early work saves money
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.
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.