Growers who have paddocks with summer weeds are being sought by the Department of Agriculture and Food to participate in a trial program.
Growers or grower groups who have up to one hectare of land with weeds, such as fleabane, tarvine, button grass and sow thistle, are urged to contact the department as soon as possible.
Principal research officer Abul Hashem said sites were required throughout the Wheatbelt, regardless of soil, management or crop type.
“Summer weeds are an emerging problem for grain growers, most likely due to increasing climate variability and changes in farming systems,” he said.
“These trials will be imperative to better understand these weeds and the chemical and non-chemical options available to control them.”
Dr Hashem said there had been increasing reports of summer weeds, which created a range of issues.
“Summer weeds rob valuable soil water and nutrition required for crops,” he said. “They can also exacerbate the risk of herbicide resistance, as well as increase the risk of crop diseases, like viruses.”
The trials will link with the department’s Improving Integrated Weed Management Practice of Emerging Weeds in the Southern and Western Regions project, funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
A survey of roadside weeds is also about to commence, as part of the project, to assess the abundance and spread of summer weeds.
“Department officers will be surveying roadsides across the Wheatbelt, collecting samples and seeds,” Dr Hashem said.
“The seeds will be tested for resistance, particularly glyphosate resistance, which will provide a good insight into the prevalence of this threat.
“The survey will aid the development of new options and management packages to minimise the impact of summer weeds and the cost to growers.”
This will be the first of several surveys over the next three years.
The department reminded growers not interested in participating in the summer weed trial to take action to remove the weeds as soon as possible, to optimise their 2015 crop potential.
Growers interested in participating in the summer weed trial can contact Dr Abul Hashem on 9690 2136 or email [email protected]