Wednesday 8 May 2013

Beneficial exception to no-till rule

A strategic, one-off cultivation may be a viable option for no-till farmers battling to control herbicide-resistant weeds yet retain the long-term benefits no-till farming has brought them.

So says Queensland Country Life, reporting on a three–year research project in the state which has been set up to gauge the impact of a single tillage operation on no-till systems and determine the best timing of such an operation.

Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and Art senior soil scientist Dr Yash Dang, Toowoomba, said the growing incidence of herbicide-resistant, hard-to-kill weeds was one of the biggest threats to no-till farming systems.

“Many weeds have developed resistance to many herbicides,” he said. “With the narrow range of herbicide groups we have, they have developed herbicide resistance and farmers are finding it very difficult to manage.

Trials held in the first stage of the project last year showed that a one-time tillage with chisel or offset disc in long-term no-till helped control winter weeds and slightly improved grain yields and profitability while retaining many of the soil quality benefits of no-till.

Read more here.