Rain is mixed blessing

By Country News

Significant summer rainfall in some areas is presenting southern region grain growers with a fresh set of agronomic challenges and opportunities.

Grains Research and Development Corporation grower relations southern manager Randall Wilksch said managing summer weeds at the earliest opportunity would generate the greatest dividends.

‘‘Summer weed control, preserving precious soil moisture, sprouting grain, storage of high moisture grain and retaining weather-affected seed for sowing will be front of mind for many growers,’’ he said.

‘‘Recent heavy rains in some areas will provide valuable soil moisture for the 2019 cropping season, but only if summer weeds are kept in check.

‘‘We know that herbicide efficacy is generally highest when summer weeds are young and actively growing.

‘‘Uncontrolled weeds also rob the soil of moisture and nitrogen, depriving following winter crops of precious reserves.’’

Mr Wilksch said an important benefit of eliminating summer weeds and volunteer cereals (known as the green bridge) was reduction of the habitat which harbours pests and diseases between seasons, potentially reducing winter crop performance.

Growers are reminded to adhere to best practice when spraying summer weeds to reduce the risk of off-target spray drift and to be aware of new restrictions on using 2,4-D.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority suspended the labels of all products containing the active ingredient 2,4-D from October 4, replacing them with a permit.

■More information on the importance of summer weed control, the latest research on problem weeds in the southern cropping region and advice on spraying, including tips for minimising spray drift, is included in the GRDC GroundCover Summer Weeds Supplement, at: