Home > New herbicide from Syngenta a welcome ally

New herbicide from Syngenta a welcome ally

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Central region grain growers, John and Peter Nicholls, have finally turned the tables in the battle against Annual Ryegrass via the adoption of a new pre-emergent herbicide.

With the onset of herbicide resistance 10 years ago, the brothers have implemented a range of management practices – including crop rotations, pasture rotations, sheep and even fire – to combat the hardy weed but with limited success.

However, the incorporation of a new herbicide called Boxer Gold appears to have given them the breakthrough they’ve been seeking.

The brothers and their mother, Lalla, grow 4000 hectares of wheat, barley, canola and lupins under no-till conditions at “Thornton Farm”, Doodlakine, 40km west of Merredin in Western Australia’s Central Wheat Belt. They also operate a 100-sow piggery and graze 1600 Merino ewes.
The brothers implement an integrated weed management program, which includes a one-year pasture phase with pasture topping and heavy grazing followed by a year of canola.

“This gives us two good years of knocking the ryegrass seed bank,” John said. “We also burn header windrows in problem paddocks rather than spreading the weed seeds with the chaff.

“We’re a lot more aware of how we can rotate between chemical groups so we can hit the ryegrass while better managing resistance and we’re mixing and matching short and long season crop varieties.”

Last year, the brothers elected to use a new pre-emergent herbicide, Boxer Gold, on the recommendation of their agronomist, Geoff Fosbery of ConsultAg in Northam.

“This new chemistry has some real advantages, so he suggested we try it in a couple of problem paddocks,” John said.

Developed by crop protection company, Syngenta , Boxer Gold is a Group J/K herbicide that provides a much-needed alternative mode of action and greater flexibility than other pre-emergent herbicides.

It is registered for the control of Annual Ryegrass and Toadrush in both wheat and barley, although preliminary trial work has shown activity against several other major grass and broadleaf weed species.

Unlike trifluralin, it has a seven day incorporation window, has good crop safety in both wheat and barley, has no plant-back restrictions to crops sown the following season and can be used in either full disturbance or minimum tillage seeding systems.

The Nicholls elected use the product in two paddocks that were badly infested with Annual Ryegrass.

A 30.5 metre Silvan Paddock King dual-line boomspray was used to apply a tank-mix of 2.5L/ha of Boxer Gold and 1.2L/ha of glyphosate in late May.

The paddocks, which grew wheat the previous year, were sown the following day to Tammarin Rock bread wheat and Arrino noodle wheat using a 12.8m Flexi-Coil 820 air seeder fitted with knife points and press wheels.

John said Boxer Gold had worked exceptionally well on the Annual Ryegrass, much of which was resistant to Group A herbicides.

“If we hadn’t used it, the crop and the yield would have been badly affected by the weeds,” he said.

“What was really interesting was that it picked up more of the ryegrass in the rows as well as between the rows, where trifluralin only gets the weeds between the rows.

“It also killed the ryegrass on gravel ridges in one paddock. Normally, we get a lot of ryegrass amongst the gravel but I didn’t see it this year.

“We’re getting escapes where we used trifluralin on other paddocks this year but I haven’t seen any escapes with Boxer Gold.”

John said Boxer Gold was softer on the crop than trifluralin and had no effect on emergence. “It gives us much more flexibility with our weed control program because it allows us to spray up to a week ahead of seeding,” he said.

“With trifluralin, the boomspray could only be a few hours ahead of the seeder so we could only spray so much at a time.

“We’ll probably use Boxer Gold on a third of our wheat paddocks next year and we’ve pretty much got those paddocks picked out already.”

The Nicholls’ boomspray is fitted with a GPS-controlled Farmlap auto boom.

“This turns nozzles on and off if there’s going to be overlap, which saves a fair bit of chemical and money,” John said.

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