New Project with SEPWA to tackle barley grass

The following article was included in the SEPWA June newsletter, to view the full version click here

A three-year project has recently been undertaken to identify tactics for barley grass management in the low rainfall zone. It has been identified that barley grass infestations have been on the increase in the low rainfall zone of southern Australia.

There are several possibilities as to why this is, including; increased seed dormancy, herbicide resistance, early seed set and seed shedding. When you take these factors into account, it is easy to see why barley grass (in some areas) is becoming more prevalent. In addition, the variability of rainfall in low rainfall areas can affect the performance of pre-emergent chemistry and there are only a few effective in-crop options for barley grass control in cereals.

The project will investigate four different management strategies in a large scale replicated demonstration site. The strategies have been devised at a local level, and this year the focus is on using different pre-emergent chemistry prewheat. We will certainly be putting the herbicides to the test this year with the dry conditions and lack of knockdown opportunities. The research project will be taking place at Geoff and Maryann Harris’ property at Grass Patch. It is one of the nine demonstration sites around Australia (five of which are in WA).

Barley grass seed has been collected from the Grass Patch site and will be used to determine seed dormancy and the herbicide resistance status of the population. During the season, we will be collecting data on crop establishment and performance (density and yield) and barley grass plant density and seed production. The demonstration site will be visited during our Grass Patch winter field walk and should generate a lot of discussion around the performance of pre-emergent chemistry. In addition, the soon to be released pre-emergent Luximo from BASF is one of the treatments and it will be going head-tohead with Sakura and Trifluralin.

An additional component of the project is to collect barley grass seed from 10 different growers for free herbicide resistance testing and seed dormancy. Please get in touch with SEPWA Projects Officer Sam Stubna prior to harvest if you would like samples collected. Phone 9083 1133 or email sam@sepwa.org.au.  

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