Complete system providing control of problem weeds
From pre-emergent control of annual ryegrass to post-emergent management of wild radish, Chad Cruickshank knows he has to select the best tools to keep weeds under control in his New South Wales farming operation.
Chad runs a 1,100 ha cropping program at ‘Glenelg’, near Gilgandra, plus a further 600 ha of share farming country, with his rotation comprising wheat, barley, faba beans, lupins and some field peas.
Importantly, he keeps his rotations tight as a way of ensuring the chemicals he uses remain effective.
“We might grow a wheat, then maybe a faba bean, wheat, then a field pea so we don’t get too far away from a pulse break,” Chad says.
“We try not to use the same chemicals two years in a row and it’s a system that seems to be working pretty well in keeping the country clean.”
So far, he says there aren’t any weed resistance problems on ‘Glenelg’, primarily due to those good rotation practices, but it’s an area that needs constant attention.
“There are some grass weed issues we’re just trying to get on top of, by getting the best knockdown possible to reduce seedset and viable plants.”
Ryegrass and barley grass are particular problems for Chad, with Sakura® 850 WG, a Group K herbicide from Bayer, forming an important part of his pre-emergent spray program.
Last season the Cruickshanks applied Sakura at 118 grams/ha through a ground rig in 70 L of water in a mixture with Roundup®, before sowing wheat the following day.
“It mixed well, was easy to apply and the results were there – there were just no weeds in what was a really wet season,’’ Chad says.
“Sakura seemed very safe on the wheat, there wasn’t any yellowing and it even cleaned up areas around where old trees had been.
We had a whitewood tree that died from kurrajong grubs, so we burnt the tree and the sheep used to camp there all the time. The sheep camp had a lot of barley grass, so we thought we’d test Sakura out to see how good it is, and it did a brilliant job taking the barley grass out.”
Perhaps most telling about the performance of Sakura on ‘Glenelg’ in 2016 was how it handled the high weed burden in what was a very wet season.
“We’ve talked to older people and they hadn’t seen it that wet since the fifties, so it was a phenomenal test for pre-emergent chemicals,’’ Chad says.
“Ryegrass just keeps coming and coming and coming, and Sakura just held it back. It’s kept it very clean.’’
The wet season also meant an ongoing battle with wild radish on their share farmed property was a particular challenge in 2016.
Having had success with Velocity® in 2015, they turned to Precept® selective herbicide last year.
“We were advised to use Precept for its effective control on the bigger plants, so we applied it at 2 L/ha with 70 L/ha of water to get good coverage through the crop canopy and onto the radish plants,’’ Chad says.
“It did a brilliant job stopping any of the bigger plants from setting seed, and it took out any wild radish at the rosette stage. They browned down really quickly.
“We were surprised by the performance of Precept, knowing that the bigger the size of the plant, the tougher it is to take out.’’
He says Precept showed good crop safety and mixed well. “We sprayed it with Axial® on some wild oats and as far as tank mixing goes, Precept works well.
“It’s a good, easy-to-use product.’’
With a continuing challenge to effectively control ryegrass and wild radish, while balancing the need to protect the longevity of the valuable Sakura and Precept chemistry, Chad says he believes he has found the right system. “We need this sort of chemistry to keep one step in front of those problem weeds and I’ve found a system that seems to fit very well.’’