CONTROLLING broadleaf weeds is an ongoing challenge for New South Wales growers Ian and Ruth Radford, Yetman, but they’ve recently added a new tool to their arsenal and it’s packed more punch than they anticipated.
Ian and Ruth farm across two properties, totalling 2800 hectares, where they run 140 Hereford breeders and crop a winter/summer program.
This year’s winter cropping season has turned out to be a cracker – one of the best Ian has experienced in his 35 years of farming.
The Radford’s summer and winter cropping program comprises wheat, barley, chickpeas, sorghum and mungbeans.
Ian said in a normal rotation, they would sow wheat/chickpeas/barley, before cropping the long fallow out of a wheat paddock to sorghum.
Summer weeds continue to be a burden for the Radfords, and Ian said they worked closely with their agronomist, Troy Hunt of WMG Agriservices at Goondiwindi in Queensland, to stay on top of them.
“Our main problem weeds are summer grasses, especially liverseed and barnyard grasses,” Ian said.
“Fleabane is also a big problem for us.
“We’ve tried all sorts of approaches to tackle these weeds, from Ester 680 to a double knock of Gramoxone.
“We’ve been with Troy for quite a while and find him very good. He stays on top of things and I trust whatever he says.
“We have the kind of relationship where he knows our property well, so I can just call him up and tell him what the problem is and he’ll advise me on the best way to tackle it.”
Last year, Troy’s advice to Ian and Ruth was to try a new product on their fallow broadleaf weeds – Stinger herbicide, from Dow AgroSciences.
Stinger’s active ingredients are aminopyralid and metsulfuron-methyl and it provides post-emergent control or suppression of broadleaf weeds in winter cereal crops and fallow land, as well as brush and broadleaf weeds in pastures.
Used in a fallow situation, it can effectively combat volunteer legumes, thistles and key weeds, offering greater residual activity.
“After seeing the potential benefits of the product, we decided it would be a good opportunity to try Stinger in the fallow situation at Ian and Ruth’s property, targeting some of the harder-to-kill weeds such as milk thistle,” Troy said.
“It was one of those situations where, with the weed spectrum we had, we would have used Ally and come back in with a double knock of Gramoxone, but we decided to try Stinger to see how it went.
“Seeing the results achieved there, we’ve used it with other clients in quite a broad area now in fallow and some in-crop work as well.”
The Radfords used Stinger in a mix with glyphosate at a rate of 14 grams/ha (Stinger) and 2 litres/ha (glyphosate), with 60-70L/ha of water applied through their broadacre self-propelled boomsprayer.
Ian said so far, the results from using Stinger had secured it a place in their herbicide toolbox as an economical solution to tackle tough broadleaf weeds.
“We have also found it quite effective on small fleabane and it’s even had an impact on the older fleabane after harvest,” Ian said.
“It’s cost-effective in that regard, as fleabane is very hard to control, so anything that has an impact on fleabane and other key broadleaf weeds is very handy.
“Especially at the rate we’re applying it, it makes it a very cost-effective option.
“Overall it’s a useful tool for us, so we’ll include it in our herbicide rotation.”
Dow AgroSciences is completing more research on the use of Stinger to control fleabane, but it is not currently on the label registration.