Clinton Robinson, of Minimay in Western Vic, successfully uses Overwatch® herbicide on wheat and faba beans.
The ongoing fight to keep ryegrass at bay has led to numerous options being utilised on the property of Clinton Robinson, at Minimay, in Western Victoria.
“We are just trying to use as many strategies as we possibly can to combat it,” Mr Robinson said. “It’s about not being afraid to throw a few dollars at it - knowing it's one of our worst weeds.”
Ryegrass is the main weed of concern, although brome grass and some others are also appearing in paddocks.
Weed control is obviously important for crop competition, moisture and nutrition management. The ability to minimise ryegrass on farm also has other benefits.
“By keeping weed numbers down we can sow dry every year. We don't have to wait to apply a knockdown, which comes in really handy."
The property is a mixed farm, with sheep and crops which include canola, wheat, clover for seed and hay, and faba beans.
“We have continuous cropping paddocks, which don't ever have livestock on them apart from stubble grazing, and some of our sandier, lighter country has set stocking on it."
“Rotations are generally three years with a legume, whether it's faba beans or clover, followed by canola and then followed by a cereal (mainly wheat)."
Weed control consists of a multi-layered strategy with pre- and post-emergence herbicide options and crop-topping at the end of the season.
“We go pretty hard with our pre-em herbicides. We don't cut too many corners with them. We are just trying to have more than one strategy to keep ryegrass at bay,” Mr Robinson said.
Over the past two seasons, Overwatch® Herbicide has been used on the property as a pre-emergence option and as a mixing partner with other chemistries.
“I've used a fair bit of paraquat with Overwatch®,” Mr Robinson said. “That worked really well pre-sowing. We’ve also mixed other pre-emergent herbicides with Overwatch® and we find using two modes of action also does a great job."
“We tend to apply a tank-mix of different herbicides to our worst paddocks. We’re trying to mix a few different herbicide mode of action groups to keep resistance at bay. It can be expensive but so is ryegrass when you think about it."
Each year he identifies problem paddocks and goes hard in that particular year to try to get on top of the ryegrass.
Overwatch® Herbicide was first used in wheat in 2021 and in 2022 when the registration had come through it was applied to faba bean paddocks.
“We were really happy with the job it did in the wheat in 2021, especially given the tough start to the cropping season. After just 5 mm of rain Overwatch® could be seen working, when a few of the other chemicals didn't.”
“I think beans are where it will also have a good fit in our program. The crop safety of Overwatch® to the beans is awesome. We were using a bit of Rustler® beforehand but we didn’t really have any other options in the bean phase, so it’s been really handy now having Overwatch® Herbicide as well.”
“We can get going in a tough start with minimal rain and we sow under some moderate residual stubble at times and Overwatch® seems to work really well in that situation."
While ryegrass is the main problem weed, the other control and suppression options on the Overwatch® Herbicide label are also handy.
“Seeing a bit of suppression of certain things is also good because it doesn't mean you have to get out there straightaway with your post-emergent sprays,” Mr Robinson said. “It buys a bit of time.”
He said the ability of Overwatch® Herbicide to turn the emerging ryegrass a white or pink colour meant he could see it working through the season.
“It gives a good visual, you can see the weeds are getting a gut full and you know it's doing its job. We can still see these effects a long way into the season.”
Overwatch® in canola will also be considered in the future with triazine and Clearfield® tolerant options used on the property.
“We see the odd blow-out in our canola so Overwatch® might be something we will look at in the future," Mr Robinson said.