A new herbicide currently under review by the APVMA designed to control ryegrass and a range of other weeds in Wheat, Barley and Canola has impressed in field days across the country this season.
Overwatch® Herbicide from FMC, has been demonstrated and compared with other herbicide options and in tank mix scenarios.
This season’s events come after years of trial work and the addition of technical extension specialists to the FMC team to aid with the introduction of the new herbicide.
FMC Technical Services Specialist, Stephen Pettenon, joined the company earlier in the year specifically to help launch Overwatch® Herbicide to the market.
“The opportunity to get involved in a new active was exciting,” he said. “It has been a few years since a new molecule has been released.”
He said FMC had already conducted 100 trials over five years through various contract providers and his first task was to review the APVMA submission and look at all the opportunities with the product going forward.
This season he has attended a wide range of field days including a recent event at Roseworthy, which attracted more than 50 agronomists.
Mr Pettenon said the site was an excellent location which showcased Overwatch® Herbicide alongside a range of industry standards and tank mixes.
He said there was a lot of weed pressure including ryegrass and Bifora, so it proved to be an excellent site to demonstrate the value of this effective herbicide.
“ Overwatch® Herbicide is a product that requires light to work,” he said. “It is unique because the active ingredient Bixlozone, is a Group Q. Up until now we haven't had a Group Q available for Wheat, Barley and Canola.”
“In areas where Overwatch® Herbicide has been applied, you would expect the weeds to come through. But, if the weed seed has been in direct contact with the spray or close to it, the weeds come up pink.
“That's a function of the carotenoid being removed and the light basically oxidising all the green tissue. It actually goes pink, then it goes white and then it falls over and dies."
Mr Pettenon said crops such as Canola, wheat and barley have the capacity to metabolise the product and grow through, whereas a wide range of weed species do not.
He said Overwatch® Herbicide was initially considered because of its activity on Ryegrass.
“Australian producers spend more dollars controlling that particular weed than any other weeds combined. We’re really struggling with ryegrass in our intensive system and resistance is a big issue. Coming out with a new mode of action and a new option is great news for everyone.”
The half life of the active ingredient Bixlozone in soil is a lot longer than other products and has demonstrated excellent activity over and up to ten weeks.
Mr Pettenon said later germinating ryegrass in the inter-row continue to turn pink well into the season.
He said the recommended application of Overwatch® Herbicide is via Incorporated By Sowing (IBS) with the seed placed sufficiently away from the herbicide.
“ Overwatch® Herbicide does not affect any cell division or any cell metabolism so the seeds that you put in the ground will come up and the vigour is excellent. If the seeding depth isn't right, or if you've got unplanned or unwanted furrow fill, then you will get uptake of Bixlozone by those plants.”
“This can be expressed by the loss of green tissue or bleaching on some of the leaves. It is quite a random and transient event and the plant recovers.”
“A lot of work has been done monitoring how the crop recovers and how the crop yields. It is happening at a very early stage of the plant's development and the work that we've done suggests that there is no lasting effect on yield.”
Mr Pettenon said FMC is expecting registration of Overwatch® Herbicide during 2020, with the full commercial launch planned for 2021.
He said 2020 will focus on additional treatment options suggested by customers and demonstrating the technology to even more people.
“There will be a big focus on putting trials in with commercial equipment because there is no substitute for using what farmers use in the real world."
“I have seen it working in the field over the last four months and the results overall, have been really, really positive. It has a great spectrum of weed control, has a high degree of crop safety and I think demand for Overwatch® Herbicide is going to be strong."
Stephen Pettenon inspecting the excellent efficacy of Overwatch® Herbicide at a trial site at Roseworthy, SA.
Agronomists and consultants seeing the benefits of Overwatch® Herbicide in canola, wheat and barley at Roseworthy, SA.
Overwatch® Herbicide turns the ryegrass a pink colour before it whitens and dies.