Acquiring additional land can often throw up the odd new challenge for farmers and so it has proved for Lower North grain grower Mark Branson.
Mark and his wife, Nola, and parents, Deane and Jennifer, operate the 1200-hectare ‘Branson Farms’ property near Stockport and purchased another property at Giles Corner, near Riverton, in 2005.
Weed management is an ongoing challenge for many farmers, but controlling resistant weeds requires further strategy and is something the Bransons have had to contend with in a paddock at Giles Corner.
“A long history of Group B (herbicides) used by the previous owners has brought on herbicide resistant wild radish in 30 ha of a 400 ha paddock,’’ Mark said.
“When a neighbour starts to spray out areas in a wheat crop with Roundup®, you know it’s starting to become difficult to kill.’’
Bifora, which he said was a harsh, spreading weed similar to fumitory, was another concern in the paddock.
While his previous broadleaf weed control approach comprised a winter kill with Tigrex® or Paragon® followed by 2,4-D amine herbicides, Mark said a decision to apply Velocity® as a different herbicide group (Groups H and C) with improved crop safety was the key to more effective control.
“We need to rotate chemicals to protect the Group I chemistry,’’ he said.
Velocity post-emergent herbicide from Bayer is based on the novel active ingredient, pyrasulfotole, and also includes bromoxynil and the company’s crop safener, mefenpyr-diethyl. The pyrasulfotole interrupts several biological processes crucial to weed growth, while the bromoxynil, which acts primarily as a contact foliar herbicide with virtually no soil residual activity, further disrupts the photosynthetic process, resulting in a unique action against weeds.
The Bransons applied Velocity at 670 mL/ha in the paddock, which was sown to Flinders barley.
Mark said wet conditions delayed their spraying and unfortunately meant they had to tackle larger radish plants, but he said the Velocity “did a very good job’’.
“It got it, which was very good. We had a good outcome.’’
Due to the excellent compatibility of Velocity with other chemicals, the family also applied it in a mix with 450 mL/ha of MCPA LVE, 250 mL/ha of propiconazole fungicide and with 1 per cent Hasten® spray adjuvant.
To achieve a medium spray droplet for good coverage in the Flinders barley, they increased the water rate through their mini drift nozzles to 120 L/ha.
“The compatibility was excellent and the broadspectrum mix picked up the radish, bifora, bedstraw and variegated thistle,’’ Mark said.
Peter Wendt, Agronomy Adviser with the local Farmer Johns store at Nuriootpa, said bifora was just as concerning as radish for growers throughout the region and the opportunity to safely target it with Velocity from the two-leaf crop growth stage was extremely important.
“There is nil tolerance for bifora seed in harvested grain,’’ Peter said.
“In the past, Affinity® plus MCPA has been widely used from the three-leaf stage, but due to the lack of tank mix options with fungicides and insecticides, we are now going with Velocity for its flexibility with fungicides and insecticides.’’
Mark said they were aiming to achieve nil weed seedset.
He said Velocity was a significant cost, but its application was important to help them rotate to another herbicide group, achieve 100% control and spray earlier with good crop safety.
“You also get a yield benefit that far outweighs the cost of the treatment.’’
Mark said they have had to target resistant radish patches in some of their faba bean crops as well.
Located in a 425-550 mm average annual rainfall zone, the family’s full cropping program includes bread and durum wheat, malting and feed barley, canola, faba beans and field peas.
They also run a self-replacing, fine wool Merino flock and cross older ewes to Poll Dorset terminal sires for prime lamb production.
Velocity® and Tigrex® are registered trademarks of the Bayer Group.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 8,819 million (2013) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 22,400 and is represented in more than 120 countries.
Bayer and its employees contribute thousands of dollars annually to a variety of organisations including Mission Australia and Aussie Helpers. Mission Australia is a community service organisation that assists thousands of disadvantaged Australians every year to help them get back on their feet. Aussie Helpers is a charity that helps fight poverty in rural communities across Australia.
The Bayer CropScience Australian head office is located in Melbourne.
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