Dealing with Fleabane
On a recent trip to visit newly-established dealership Milne Bros. in Central Queensland, our boys were privileged to attend a meeting organised by the Australian Grains & Research Corporation. The meeting was targeted at addressing the issue of ‘Resistant & Hard-to-Kill Weeds’ and was attended by over 40 local farmers and agronomists. The attendees were asked to state their experience using various herbicide and non-herbicide solutions which gave the results below:
It is interesting the comparison between very ineffective Glyphosate and Double Knock methods and 100% effective Tillage methods. Fleabane is one of two prevalent and notoriously-tough weeds in this area, with the other being Feathertop Rhodes grass. Chemical resistance is a big part of the reason farmers in Central Queensland have struggled to control as pockets of resistance to mainstream herbicides are growing season upon season.
One expert advised that as soon as a Fleabane plant is larger than a 50 cent piece it is almost impossible to kill with herbicide!
However, conventional tillage with Offset Disc Ploughs digging 3-6 inches deep has been unsustainable due to soil moisture loss. Moisture ingress and retention is key to successful farming in this area, and indeed, most of Australia. The disc chain concept, digging only 1-2 inches deep greatly reduces the moisture loss that comes with conventional tillage whilst maintaining a high-percentage weedkill. This has been found and confirmed by organic farmers in this area who have been forced to find a sustainable alternative to chemical weedkill and, as a result of the meeting, non-organic farmers in the area are moving in the same direction.
We thank the GRDC for the use of the data collected at this meeting and all the work they do in continuing to advance Australian farming.