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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Heal thy soil, heal thy crops, kill thy weeds

Tag Archives | management

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Heal thy soil, heal thy crops, kill thy weeds

Have you ever played a game of competitive sport when you’re sick? Then you’ll know you simply can’t compete at your best (except if you’re cricketer Dean Jones. Then you’d score 210 while violently ill during a test match in India in 1986 – legend). Crops growing in unhealthy soil can’t compete with weeds. To make matters worse, the unhealthy soil doesn’t seem to affect the weeds as much as it affects the crop. This makes a lot of sense, but there’s been limited research data to support this assumption. Until now. Acid soil is fine if you want to…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Early flowering wild radish paradox

If you drop a piece of toast, it will land butter side down (the likelihood of this is proportional to the price of the carpet). If you drop a cat, it always lands on its feet. But if you strap a piece of toast to the back of a cat, butter side up, and drop the cat, now that is a paradox. If we adopt harvest weed seed control to get on top of the wild radish seed bank, could we paradoxically select for early flowering and early shedding wild radish that can avoid harvest weed seed control, and create…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Keith Richards, not Jimi Hendrix

The old rock star adage is ‘live hard, die young’. Keith Richards, on the other hand, has somehow managed to buck the trend and ‘live hard, (and will) die old’. How Keith has lived so long will go down as one of the world’s great unsolved mysteries. Many herbicides are ‘living hard, dying young’. We need to work out how to get herbicides to ‘live hard, die old’. Back in 2006, Pat Tranel and others from the University of Illinois were investigating the first reports of glyphosate resistant waterhemp in the USA. As they travelled around they saw completely weed…

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Paul Neve in lab

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Knock knock

Knock knock Who’s there? Little old lady Little old lady who? I didn’t know you could yodel! It is double knock season in Australia. Glyphosate resistance has been confirmed in many fields across the country in at least 10 weed species. Public enemy number one is the world champion of herbicide resistance, annual ryegrass. Glyphosate resistant ryegrass has been confirmed in hundreds of fields in Australia and is suspected in thousands. The double knock technique of glyphosate followed by paraquat is a very useful tool…when done right. The right sequence – glyphosate followed by paraquat; the right timing – anywhere…

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Farm paddock

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Waste

Most of us don’t pour Grange Hermitage red into our lamb shank casserole. And many of us don’t waste the good beer on the visitors (did you know that VB stands for visitors beer?). But most Australian grain growers are wasting the world’s greatest herbicide on the least productive part of the farm. A ‘super group’ of weed scientists and a leading grain grower formed at the recent Perth Agribusiness Crop Updates to discuss glyphosate resistance in a two hour long focus session. Surveying the audience provided some interesting results – 47% of them were wearing black underpants, and half had…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Tips

Written by: Peter Newman Work hard; be good to your mother. Never rush a good job. Be patient burning narrow windrows – conditions are everything. We have learnt a lot about burning narrow windrows over the years with the aim always being to kill the weed seeds while keeping the fire in the windrow. Get it wrong and you have strips of weeds, or worse, the whole paddock burns and wind erosion results. Get it right and you are on the path to a low seed bank and cleaner crops. If you are burning windrows for the first time, or…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Rules of thumb

Rule of thumb: A useful principle having wide application but not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable in every situation. “Then they measured my right thumb, and desired no more; for by a mathematical computation, that twice round the thumb is once around the wrist, and so on to the neck and waist, and by the help of my old shirt, which I displayed on the ground before them for a pattern, they fitted me exactly” – Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels. Where would we be without rules of thumb in agriculture? No, they are not 100% scientifically accurate, but…

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Man in growth area

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Action stations

“To take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime, we must act in the lifetime of the opportunity” -James T Valvano. Valvano was the coach of the NC state basketball team in 1983 who were the unlikely winners of the title in the dying seconds of the game. In summing up the recent WSSA Summit on herbicide resistant weeds in Washington DC last week, Dr Harold Coble relived being at the game and said “this may be the opportunity of a lifetime, to work together to get herbicide resistant weeds under control”. The USA have taken the title from Australia…

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Chaff cart

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Spoiled rotten

Kids these days, they are spoiled rotten. “We used to get up in the morning at half past ten at night, half an hour before we’d gone to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work 29 hours down mill and pay the mill owner for permission to come to work. And you tell that to the young people of today and they won’t believe you.” – Monty Python Farmers these days, they are spoilt for choice when it comes to harvest weed seed control options. There are now five commercially available tools to remove weed seeds at harvest with…

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Ryegrass growing boxes on tables

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Think global

Herbicides are as important to global food production as antibiotics are to human health” – Professor Stephen Powles. Humanity has faced some major challenges in the past and has always met these challenges through innovation. The extremely infectious and deadly smallpox virus plagued people for centuries and yet by 1980 we had eradicated it on a global scale. The innovation? A newly perfected vaccine, and a huge, worldwide collaborative effort. But while smallpox is gone, herbicide resistance lives on and as AHRI Director Stephen Powles believes, it is posing a huge threat to global food security. Our population is exploding…

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