Grain growers and farm advisers keen to learn more about the sustainable use of herbicides and effective long-term weed control are encouraged to attend 2019 WeedSmart Week at Horsham.
It is the first time the event has been held in Victoria and, with the theme of ‘Diversify and Disrupt’, the focus is firmly on arming participants with the latest information about integrated weed management.
This hands-on approach to knowledge sharing translates into a three-day practical program starting on Tuesday, August 27, with an interactive forum featuring leading growers, farm advisers, agronomists and researchers, followed by a series of farm visits.
The conference is being facilitated by WeedSmart, an industry-owned initiative committed to delivering practical, validated information that promotes the use of multiple on-farm management tools to encourage ‘more crop, less weeds’ and keeping herbicides working for the long-term.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is supporting this event as the major WeedSmart stakeholder. Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) is co-hosting the week.
Lisa Mayer, who heads the WeedSmart team from her base at the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) at The University of Western Australia, says Horsham WeedSmart Week will offer attendees a chance to see first-hand how some growers are tackling problem weeds through strategic management tactics such as crop competition, narrow row spacing, crop rotation and harvest weed seed control measures.
“Practical information on how growers, farm advisers, agronomists and researchers are implementing ‘The Big 6’ (https://weedsmart.org.au/the-big-6/) tactics to target specific weed species and reduce herbicide resistance in southern farming systems forms the basis of the interactive workshop at the Horsham Town Hall on day one of WeedSmart Week,” Ms Mayer says.
“Day two of the program includes workshops looking at mechanical harvest weed seed control options and harvest efficiency with leading experts at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days site, followed by on-farm optical spray technology demonstrations.
“Day three (Thursday, August 29) incorporates visits to farms in the Horsham area where growers have put in place integrated weed management programs to minimise the impact of herbicide resistance to their farming systems.”
GRDC Southern Region Panel Chair John Bennett, a Wimmera grain grower, says WeedSmart Week will offer insights into which herbicides are still effective in the region and practices growers can implement to preserve herbicide life. Weeds cost growers $146/hectare on average in control costs and lost yield.
“In terms of yield loss and input costs, weeds have a most significant impact on grower profitability, and the challenge to manage weeds effectively continues to mount due to the pressure of increasing herbicide resistance,” Mr Bennett says.
“WeedSmart Week provides a unique opportunity for growers and farm advisers to hear from experts at the forefront of Australian weed and herbicide resistance research, and to see best practice weed management in action on-farm.”