26 September 2023

DPIRD leads research in weed battle

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Five Western Australian grower groups are collaborating in a research project by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) to better control the emerging weed, Barley Grass.

Research Scientist at the Department, Catherine Borger (pictured) said the winter weed had proliferated across the Grain Belt in recent years, due to the adoption of minimum tillage practices, continuous cropping, herbicide resistance and seasonal variability.

“The DPIRD is leading the research in Western Australia with co-investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC),” Dr Borger said.

She said the Kellerberrin Demonstration Group, South East Premium Wheat Growers Association, Mingenew Irwin Group, Lakes Information and Farming Technology and the Facey Group were engaged in the project, with additional support from the WA No-Tillage Farming Association.

“Each group is evaluating three different barley grass management strategies, in addition to a more typical control strategy,” Dr Borger said.

“The grower groups have compared herbicide use and spray topping in pasture, pre-emergent herbicide use, crop variety and density, among other strategies.”

She said the first year of the project had already yielded some interesting results, which would be further verified in 2020.

“Field trials showed early herbicide control was effective at Kellerberrin and at the Lakes district, while spray topping and slashing were highly effective at Mingenew,” Dr Borger said.

“Pre-emergent herbicides worked well on the south coast, and at Dalwallinu.”

She said low levels of herbicide resistance in barley grass, demonstrated by the project in 2019, proved to be a real advantage for Western Australian growers.

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