Chad Pilkington, of Redhill, SA uses Overwatch® Herbicide to control ryegrass with the added benefit of controlling bifora at the same time.
The ability of Overwatch® Herbicide to control ryegrass, as well as a range of broadleaf weeds, has made it an important tool on the Pilkington properties at Redhill, in the mid-north of South Australia.
Pilkington is a grain grower who farms approx 2,300 hectares with his brother, Ben and their wives Olivia and Sarah, with the support of their parents Noel and Karen.
He said ryegrass was their most difficult grass weed to control although brome grass and wild oats were also of concern.
“We've got a farm which has bifora and that’s an ongoing issue,” he said. It's a numbers game like it is with any weed, trying to rotate chemicals and find the right approach to controlling it."
Two years ago, Mr Pilkington spoke to his agronomist about the new Overwatch® Herbicide which had only just been released.
“The conversation came about that it was a product on the market that gave us similar ryegrass control to other products for a similar cost per hectare, with the added benefit of broadleaf control,” he said.
“Bifora was certainly one of those weeds and I guess that's where we saw the first fit. We thought - well let's give it a go where we've got bifora."
“We were impressed with the ryegrass control. The distinctive characteristics of the pink colouring of the leaves was very visual. You can see the control and it gives you a real appreciation of w“The added bonus really, for us, has been the bifora control. You're paying per hectare what you would for other pre-em products with similar ryegrass control with the added bonus of the bifora control. It's become a no brainer for us.”
“We just use Overwatch® because we're getting the same ryegrass control that we would with other products for a similar price, but with the added benefit of the bifora control."
Mr Pilkington said the control of bifora with Overwatch® Herbicide had been quite amazing.
“I distinctly remember the first year I went out with our crop advisor, at crop stage four or five leaf. It was a bad bifora paddock and as we drove over it we just came to this sea of yellow.”
“I looked at my advisor and he looked at me and I said, well, I think this might be bifora and when we walked out into it we couldn't find a green plant, it was 100% control. We thought this could be the answer to bifora for us.”
He said the problem with a lot of other products for bifora control is that you need the right conditions, the right timing, proper canopy and to make good contact.
“It's very hard, in crop, to get all the conditions right at the same time. With a pre-emergent option it takes that element out of it and you have control. What we've seen so far has been fantastic."
Overwatch® Herbicide will occasionally show some crop bleaching, if the chemical comes into contact with the germinating plant.
Mr Pilkington said the Overwatch® Herbicide label was clear that the depth of sowing is important, as is seed placement and the speed of sowing to minimize soil throw.
“The right soil types are obviously a consideration too. In our sandier soils, we've had crop bleaching but it's recovered quickly. The weed control has, by far, outweighed any crop effect."
“We've got to be respectful of the chemical and, you know, follow the instructions.”
In 2022, a granular formulation of Overwatch® was trialled on their farm in a side-by-side comparison with the current liquid formulation.
“It mixed well,” Mr Pilkington said. “The filters were fine with full agitation, and it went out well from the tank. In the crop, you couldn’t notice any difference between the two products. It provided equal weed control to the liquid formulation and with no difference in crop safety."