Global Agriculture

Australia: National weed management event arrives in Mildura

29 July 2022, Australia: For the first time, Australia’s premier event to help grain growers control weeds – WeedSmart Week – will be held in Mildura from 30 August to 1 September 2022.

Expected to attract up to 200 northern Mallee grain growers and other participants, WeedSmart Week will include two days of farm tours and a machinery expo, plus a one-day forum featuring weed experts, leading growers and agronomists.

WeedSmart is an industry-led initiative that delivers science-backed weed control solutions to growers.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is a Platinum Partner in WeedSmart. WeedSmart is also supported by other industry and research partners.

“Weeds are one of the largest costs to grain growers affecting management, yields and input costs,” said Greg Condon, WeedSmart Southern Extension Agronomist.

“WeedSmart week is an opportunity to learn about practical solutions for dealing with weeds but in the context of profitable farming systems.

“Growers, agronomists and scientists share the podium, coming together to share insights about managing weeds and herbicide resistance in broadacre cropping systems.”

WeedSmart Week is held in a different location every year showcasing effective and science-backed weed control strategies to growers and advisers.

This year’s event will focus on the southern grain-growing region and share knowledge on the WeedSmart Big 6 tactics to control weeds: rotate crops and pastures; double knock; mix and rotate herbicides; stop seed set; increase crop competition; and harvest weed seed control.

Managing weeds to help optimise input costs, improve yield and grower profitability is a key target for GRDC.

GRDC Manager Weeds, Jason Emms, explains that a number of topics on the WeedSmart Week agenda are the focus of GRDC investment such as Area Wide Management of weeds, biocontrol of weeds, Integrated Weed Management of barley grass, and understanding the prevalence of herbicide resistance.

“We’re looking forward to seeing growers from across the grain growing regions participate,” said Dr Emms.

“We want attendees to share expertise and knowledge to help tackle our most pressing weed problems in our effort to reduce the gap between actual and potential yield.”

In the latest GRDC Farm Practices Survey, 44 per cent of interviewed grain growers from the South Australian/Victorian Mallee region said ryegrass was their main weed concern, followed by herbicide resistance (28%), summer grasses (26%) and broadleaf weeds (23%).

Bec Marshall and her husband Ash grow wheat, barley, lentils, canola, faba beans, and vetch and oats for hay on her 3300-hectare farm at Normanville. She agrees that ryegrass is a big problem.

“Ryegrass can prove a tough competitor, and herbicide issues add another layer of complexity to controlling it,” she said.

“We have found a range of integrated strategies are required for good results.

“We focus on long grass-free break phases using a mix of crop types, solid pre-emergent herbicide mixes to reduce pressure in-crop, crop topping of legumes to stop seed set and some brown manure as well.

“In the past 5 years we have stepped it up a little to also include oaten hay in the mix, double knocking all ryegrass and brought in a more competitive barley variety.”

Ms Marshall says the ability and versatility of farmers to tackle weeds by adopting new techniques continues to impress her.

“It’s our capability as growers that is the most exciting,” she said.

“We have all come a long way in terms of our weed management strategies and understanding the complexities of weed control in our modern farming systems.

“Weeds are constantly evolving and changing based on the environment and how we manage them, so it’s important that we keep changing and evolving as farmers as well.”

Ms Marshall will speak about stopping weed seed set and weed control strategies at WeedSmart Week.

GRDC is also sponsoring 30 growers and five agronomists/researchers from Birchip Cropping Group and YP Ag, plus 12 agricultural students and teachers from East Loddon to attend the event.

View the WeedSmart Week 2022 program and book a ticket online on the WeedSmart website. Early bird prices are available until 31 July.

WeedSmart has investment from the GRDC and commercial companies and delivers science-backed weed control solutions. GRDC is a Platinum Partner in WeedSmart.

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