There's weeds in mud

5 November 2023 by
Seed Terminator, Kelly Ingram

Tom Gleeson of Hard Quiz fame once said, “I’ve got red hair. That means I’ve got shit skin. That’s two genetic F ups for the price of one!”

We’re all feeling for the flooded farmers of Eastern Australia at the moment. Floods have destroyed their crops and their income after spending a fortune on inputs, and as a double bonus they get a weed blow out to go with it. Waterlogged areas are a haven for weeds, and they’ll set a truckload of seed if we let them.

This got me thinking – what are some of the things growers can do in a really wet year to minimise the pain of the weed blowout? Some of the suggestions below might be a bit bonkers, so take them with a grain of salt, but here goes nothin!

1. Many growers will have some crop which has been spared and will be harvested. You’re going to need some clean paddocks to get started on at seeding next year so it will be best to use harvest weed seed control if possible, and even consider a double whammy of crop topping followed by HWSC where possible.

2. Some crops will be wet for ages and are likely to lodge by the time you get a chance to harvest them. Shaving the ground with a flex front (if you can get hold of one) or even a stripper front will give you the best chance of feeding as many weed seeds into your Seed Terminator (or any other HWSC method).

3. Can you nuke the blowouts by spraying glyphosate by a plane (or a helicopter, or a drone even)? The blowouts are probably too wet to drive on, and you may be too busy harvesting the crop that you do have, so organising a plane to hit some problem areas before they set seed may be a way to get the job done. If it dries out, you could possibly go for a second knock of paraquat by ground rig if you have the workers or spray contractors to get the job done.

4. This is going to sound like I’ve been smoking the weeds rather than spraying them, but what about burning the blowouts? Not something we can bank on because it may stay sopping wet right through burning season next Autumn, but if it does dry out, a hot burn will kill 80% or more of the weed seeds. Dr. Michael Walsh was a right pyromaniac, and did a lot of burning research back in the day. He showed that temperatures get hot enough in a whole paddock burn of high residue. The trick is to burn when there’s a light breeze rather than when it is dead still.

5. And if that last idea was nuts, how about this one. What about getting in your harvester in summer, and harvesting the waterlogged blowout areas and feeding the weed seeds that you can capture into your Seed Terminator. Once again, shaving the ground will be necessary.

There’s a couple of left field ideas here, and I’m keen to hear more. If you have an idea, please reply to this email “Ask the Terminator a Question” and I’ll respond soon.

Fingers crossed for some sunshine.

The Terminator Agronomist
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Please note this advice is general in nature and not based on your specific circumstances.

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