INNOVATION: Director of SwarmFarm Robotics Andrew Bate will open the gates of his 4000 hectare wheat property, Bendee, at Gindie as part of 2019 WeedSmart Week activities in Central Queensland.
INNOVATION: Director of SwarmFarm Robotics Andrew Bate will open the gates of his 4000 hectare wheat property, Bendee, at Gindie as part of 2019 WeedSmart Week activities in Central Queensland. GRDC

Smart weed control in the spotlight

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 in Emerald next month.

It's the first time the event has been held in Queensland 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 two-and-a-half day practical program starting on August 13 with an interactive forum featuring leading growers, farm advisers, agronomists and researchers followed by a series of visits to Central Queensland farms.

This is the fourth annual conference facilitated by the WeedSmart Project, which is an industry-owned initiative committed to delivering practical, validated information that promotes the use of multiple on-farm management tools to encourage 'more crop, fewer weeds' and to keep herbicides working for the long-term.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is supporting this event as the major WeedSmart stakeholder. Other support comes from WeedSmart's stakeholders Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), Bayer Crop Science, Monsanto, Nufarm, Sinochem, Syngenta, BASF, Gentech/Pioneer and Dow Corteva.

The CQ Grower Solutions Group, a joint initiative of GRDC and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), have partnered with WeedSmart to deliver this event. The move is part of the group's ongoing commitment to helping CQ growers, farm advisers and agronomists make informed decisions to encourage sustainable and profitable cropping systems.

GRDC Crop Protection Manager - North - Vicki Green said the forum would offer insights into which herbicides were still effective in the region, practices growers could implement to preserve herbicide life, and different tactics for beating weeds, such as crop competition, narrow row spacing, crop rotation and harvest weed seed control measures.

"WeedSmart Week is a unique opportunity for Central Queensland growers and farm advisers to hear from those at the forefront of Australian weed and herbicide resistance research, as well as to see best practice weed management in action on-farm,” Mrs Green said.

"Weeds are one of the largest costs we face in terms of yield loss and input costs, so they have a significant impact on the way we manage our farming businesses.

"The world's first glyphosate resistant sweet summer grass was discovered near Emerald in 2014, and weed surveys have also identified resistance in feathertop Rhodes grass and fleabane in Central Queensland, so effective weed control is definitely a high priority issue for growers in this region.”

Lisa Mayer, who heads the WeedSmart team from her base at the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) at The University of Western Australia, said the 2019 event would offer attendees a chance to see firsthand how some Queaensland growers were tackling problem weeds using strategic management tactics.

"Practical information on how growers, farm advisers, agronomists and researchers are implementing the soon to be released, 'Summer Big 6' tactics to target specific weed species and reduce herbicide resistance in northern farming systems forms the basis of the interactive workshop on day one of WeedSmart Week,” Ms Mayer said.

"Days two and three involve bus tours to farms around Emerald where growers have put in place integrated weed management programs and new technology to minimise the impact of herbicide resistance on their farms.”

During the week growers and farm advisers will also have opportunities to see and discuss cutting-edge technology in weed control, such as optical sprayers, robots, targeted tillage and emerging 'green-on-green' spray sensors.

The early bird cost of this three-day event is $130, which includes the forum, two days of bus tours and full catering.

  • Tuesday, August 13: Practical Forum (McIndoe Park Function Centre) followed by networking.
  • Wednesday, August 14: Farm visits (8am-5pm)
  • Thursday, August 15: Tour of SwarmFarm Robotics (8.30am-midday).

For more information or to register go https://bit.ly/2JzMJgW


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