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Weed control

Written by: Clark Farm Equipment
Posted on: 11 Dec 2018
Topic: General Articles

Weed control is a year round requirement for successful and profitable livestock, crop, pasture production or forestry. If control measures are not undertaken early, weeds have the potential to become a major problem on your property.

Weeds can lower crop yields and pasture quality by competing for soil moisture, nutrients, space and light; many are toxic to livestock.

Weeds can enter your property in a variety of ways (though seeds):

  • New or returning livestock
  • Vehicles (soil or mud on wheels or undercarriages)
  • Equipment that has not been adequately cleaned
  • Wild or feral birds and animals
  • Visitors, staff, family or seasonal workers

You should aim to reduce weed numbers and keep them low with an ongoing control program. Tools you might use in your management program include:

Ongoing surveillance
Check your property regularly and implement a control program, especially if the weeds are toxic to livestock or have the potential to take over pasture or crop fields.

Crop rotation
Alternate cereal and broadleaf pasture or crops. Broadleaf weeds are easier to control in cereal crops, and grassy weeds are more easily and cheaply controlled chemically in broadleaf crops.

Making hay or silage from crops or pasture prior to seed set reduces the weed seed bank and possible spread of weed seeds. Cutting must be done early enough to ensure that viable seeds are not included in the hay or silage.

Using weed-free seed 
Using weed-free seed (preferably registered or certified) and sowing on time with optimal plant population densities and adequate nutrition contribute to weed control. Some crops and varieties are more competitive against weeds than others.

Spraying herbicides to pasture topping, cleaning grasses out of legume pastures in winter is a common practice. This involves spraying grasses such as barley grass and vulpia out of pastures in winter to stop seed set, improve nitrogen build-up and reduce root diseases in subsequent cereal crops.

Using knockdown herbicides instead of cultivation for fallow commencement, as well as pre-planting in the autumn, can provide weed control while protecting the soil structure.

A wide range of pre-emergent and early post-emergent herbicides are available for in-crop weed control. The stage of growth of the weed and the crop are vital factors to consider when planning the successful use of post-emergent herbicides.

Broadcast spraying can kill weeds when found or before they grow and overcome crops, pasture or your property. They are great for pastures, lawns, roadways and paddocks. 

See our range broadcast sprayers here

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