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Making SA pulse crop harvests quicker and cleaner

Agronomist Peter Wendt is pleased with the option of using Sharpen to bring forward the harvesting of pulse crops and manage weed biomass.

Peter Wendt Sharpen testimonial

The current boom in the plantings and value of pulse crops means harvesting them efficiently in the best possible condition keeps getting more rewarding. After years of depending on glyphosate and paraquat for desiccation, the 2016 registration of the Group G herbicide Sharpen as a pulse harvest aid added a new string to growers’ bows – one that immediately proved its worth in the mid-north of South Australia, according to agronomist Peter Wendt.

Peter, from the Farmer Johns store in Nuriootpa, says pulses account for around 30% of the hectares under crop in the area and are important in terms of profitability. Local planting of lentils is on the rise, while the volume of field peas, faba beans and chickpeas being grown remains pretty steady.

The option of using Sharpen means they can now harvest those crops earlier because they are desiccated more rapidly.

“The increased dry-down speed from Sharpen is a positive,” says Peter. “We can get in the paddock as quick as we can with such a high value crop and reduce the risk of getting downgraded. In the lighter canopies we were in there in after seven days, whereas with glyphosate we could be longer than that.”

Equally or even more importantly, tank-mixing Sharpen with paraquat accelerates and improves control of problem broadleaf weeds.

“Generally you see when you increase your legumes in the rotation that some of your weeds like prickly lettuce and milk thistle start to increase,” Peter explains. “And radish can become an issue just because of the lack of weed control options in-crop. Adding the Sharpen into the program really broadened the spectrum.”

“Radish is a big one. We know that, Australia-wide, resistance is a huge issue. We’ve got a responsibility to learn from other areas and try to do things differently to protect our herbicides.”

“It is really important that we get that right and we use the best products available to stop that seed-set for future years. Sharpen is a valuable part of that.”

For Peter, Sharpen definitely fits into that ‘best products available’ category and his customers will be keen to go on using it as a pulse harvest aid. “It was great to see that registration come through. Once we had that we knew we could apply it with confidence."