How many hours did you spend out in the paddock with a chipping hoe when you were a kid? Do you still carry one in every ute? Chances are you know how effective they are; but wouldn’t mind if you never had to use one again! Australia has an unfortunate habit of claiming world-firsts in new species for the herbicide resistance lists. Fortunately, we have also been leaders in the development of new tools to help combat the problem. Enter: the revolutionary new chipping hoe! The latest of these developments is the world’s first site-specific mechanical weeder.
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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.
Which herbicides wash off wheat stubble? Ask any farmer how hard it is to wash the yellow trifluralin stain out of their clothes and you had better be ready for a tirade of domestic hardship! “I just throw them straight in the bin these days”, commented one irate farmer. “I would sooner try and wash off a tattoo than remove that horrible yellow stuff from my work shirts.” No wonder the urban myth tells us that trifluralin was originally developed as clothes dye. If Yaseen Khalil’s recent research is anything to go by, trifluralin would make a wonderful dye and…