The challenge of keeping Annual ryegrass at bay in a wide range of crops is a continual problem for Andrew Godde, who farms at Culcairn, in the south-east Riverina region of New South Wales.
“Ryegrass is our Achilles heel here,” he said. “Everything else we can manage well but the Ryegrass is the biggest problem facing my farming career.”
He said pre-emergent chemistry is utilised to try to combat the Annual ryegrass early, and last season they utilised the new Overwatch® Herbicide from FMC in a side-by-side comparison trial in Wheat.
“As soon as a new product comes out, we have to jump on it,” he said. “We had Treflan and Sakura, which is of one of the mainstays, and we used Overwatch® Herbicide in conjunction with the Treflan as well, to make it a fair trial.”
“It is all about a numbers game for us. We just don't like to see too many numbers early and it just seemed to me that there were a lot less numbers compared to the other trial plots,” Mr Godde said.
“I was impressed with it all year, the plots with Overwatch® Herbicide have been cleaner and had less Annual ryegrass. I've particularly liked the way it turns the Annual ryegrass pink, I often drive past in my ute, see the pink and know that it is working. It gives you a bit of peace of mind that your money is working for you."
The trial paddock was sown in the last week of April and the crops had 70 mm of rain in the days that followed. “We were a little bit concerned with the rates of pre-ems that we had down, but we didn't seem to have any dramas,” Mr Godde said. “I'm glad we sowed it when we did."
He said the launch of Overwatch® Herbicide, as a new pre-emergent option, was welcomed and makes it possible to rotate herbicides. “The same products have been used too many times, that’s why we need to see this new technology coming through. There's an old saying, if you are on a good thing, don't stick to it. Try and mix it up a bit."
Overwatch® Herbicide is registered for use on Canola, Wheat and Barley and he said it was likely to be used in their wheat phase.
“We don't just use the same one,” Mr Godde said. “We usually use Sakura and Treflan in the first year after the Canola phase and then we usually use Avadex and Treflan the second year because we don't want to overuse the one product. Overwatch® Herbicide will fit well in our program. We'll be able to use it on the first Wheat and maybe Sakura on the second or vice versa. I'm looking forward to having that different technology there."
A typical rotation for the enterprise is a Canola (Roundup Ready or a TT), followed by two crops of Wheat or a Wheat and Barley and then back to Canola. “It’s usually the second year when we can have a blow out,” Mr Goode said. “Then you are back to Canola and you are back to square one.”
The new Overwatch® Herbicide has been welcomed by Andrew Godde, of Culcairn, NSW for Ryegrass control.