Huan Lu’s been investigating a population of wild radish that has the infamous Ser-264-gly mutation. This is the target-site mutation that is behind TT canola and makes wild radish highly resistant to PSII-inhibiting herbicides like atrazine and, to a lesser extent, metribuzin. But, he wondered if there was more to this resistance than first meets the eye. Does focusing on the strong 264 mutation mean that we could fail to identify other important resistance mechanisms?
We answer a few poignant questions in this insight, including: ‘Can crops do more of the heavy lifting when it comes to weed control than modern farming methods have allowed them?’ or ‘Have we tried so hard to protect crops from weeds that we have forgotten that they have innate mechanisms to ‘stand on their own two feet’ and ‘do it for themselves’?’ A series of important studies into the practical implications of harnessing the crop’s ability to defend itself against weeds are starting to produce important results, leading to improvements in farming practice and the development of new cultivars.
As AHRI and Weedsmart Western region agronomist, Pete recently gave a presentation to a group of high rainfall farmers who were concerned that they hadn’t had a decent knockdown for three years in a row. What he came up with, based on research and experience, was that we definitely should not be waiting for a knockdown, but we need to throw enough weed management at the farming system to make it work. No knockdown, no worries, if… To find out what the “ifs” are, click through to read the insight.
Did you know that rotary hoeing requires less energy than steaming? Or that offset discing requires less energy than microwaving? Well, that’s the case when it comes to controlling weeds. An epic effort to review 170 papers by a team from the University of Sydney (Guy Coleman et al) has shown that mechanical weed control options (eg. tillage) can use significantly less energy than thermal options (eg. heat) to kill weeds. Herbicide energy use sits somewhere in the middle.
Roberto recently completed a project with GRDC investment where he sampled ryegrass from 17 paddocks across eight farms in Western Australia to see if there are benefits of proactively testing for herbicide resistance. Across these tests, he found ryegrass that was resistant to Clethodim (Select) or Butroxydim (Factor) but no ryegrass that was resistant to the mix of the two. The same went for the pre-emergent herbicides as well, no resistance to mixes.
Chickpeas are short and annual ryegrass takes advantage! At 5’2″, Jonte Hall is pretty short by everyday standards, let alone by Harlem Globetrotter standards. Nicknamed ‘Too Tall’, recently-retired guard Jonte is the smallest player to wear the Globetrotter’s jersey since the team was founded in 1926. Globetrotter veteran Herbert ‘Flight Time’ Lang, a more conventional-sized 6-foot-3 forward, is quoted as saying: “Too Tall is proof that if you stay focused, act positive and take advantage of opportunities, good things can happen.” So, how can chickpea play to its strengths & win?
“We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” John F. Kennedy, 1962. All well and good if you’re the American government with a king’s ransom to spend. But if you’re an Australian farmer? It’s probably better to do the easy things. “We choose to adopt stacked crop competition tools, not because they are hard, but because they are easy.”
Charles Sturt University has sown, sprayed and counted annual ryegrass from around 12 million seeds submitted from more than 5000 samples sent in from across Australia since it started testing for herbicide resistance in 1991…and that’s just ryegrass. Mind numbing stuff. But more than 5000 ryegrass samples? Most tested to five or six herbicides? Think about the value of that information! Dr John Broster and Professor Jim Pratley from CSU have analysed the data from ryegrass samples sent to the testing service over the 25 year period from 1991 to 2015.
We once thought that the genetics of eye colour was simple. Both parents have blue eyes, therefore, all of their children will have blue eyes. Easy peasy! Then science progressed and we realised that it isn’t actually that simple because several genes are involved. The genetics of herbicide resistance was simple. One parent is resistant to a herbicide, therefore, all of the offspring will be resistant because the gene is dominant or semi-dominant. This is true for almost all cases of herbicide resistance and was easy to understand. Until now. Click to read more about PhD student Jinyi Chen’s research.
Experiencing hardship is often the best way to learn the big lessons of life. Heartbreak, financial difficulty, hunger and hard manual labour are often times great motivators and they build resilience in those individuals that are not crushed by them.But, like banging your head against a brick wall, it is good when it stops! Taking a person who has experienced hardship and giving them an opportunity or access to resources will often result in great success. There are many examples where tenacity and grit have underpinned the success of social reformers, sportspersons, businesspeople and performers, and even every-day people in…