Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Can planting a tight crop improve weed control?

25 February 2015

Given the significant up-front cost of buying good quality seed it is tempting to cut back on seeding rates to minimise costs. Lead scientist and director of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at Charles Sturt University, Professor Deirdre Lemerle takes the opposite view and is calling on growers to consider using high seeding rates and competitive cultivars to suppress weeds and achieve savings through reduced herbicide costs and more reliable herbicide performance.

"Weed control is one of the largest costs in most cropping systems and in the face of increasing herbicide resistance we recommend that growers use the crop itself as an important weed control tactic," she said. "Cultivar selection, narrow row spacing, stubble management, seeding rate, sowing date and early vigour all contribute to the ability of a crop to suppress weed germination, growth and seed production."

Professor Lemerle emphasises the need to develop regional agronomic management practices for weed control that suit the soil and weather conditions on your farm. She said that while the general principles are well tested, the application of the principles must be fine-tuned for each farm and farming system.

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This article was reproduced with permission from Weedsmart