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Tillage based, site-specific weed control for conservation cropping systems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 March 2020

Michael J. Walsh
Affiliation:
Associate Professor, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, University of Sydney, Narrabri, New South Wales, Australia
Caleb C. Squires
Affiliation:
Research Associate, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, University of Sydney, Narrabri, New South Wales, Australia
Guy R. Y. Coleman
Affiliation:
Research Associate, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, University of Sydney, Narrabri, New South Wales, Australia
Michael J. Widderick
Affiliation:
Principal Research Scientist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Leslie Research Facility, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Adam B. McKiernan
Affiliation:
Research Scientist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Leslie Research Facility, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Bhagirath S. Chauhan
Affiliation:
Associate Professor, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland, Australia
Carlo Peressini
Affiliation:
Research Associate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Andrew L. Guzzomi
Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering & Institute of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Australian conservation cropping systems are practiced on very large farms (approximately 3,000 ha) where herbicides are relied on for effective and timely weed control. In many fields, though, there are low weed densities (e.g., <1.0 plant 10 m−2) and whole-field herbicide treatments are wasteful. For fallow weed control, commercially available weed detection systems provide the opportunity for site-specific herbicide treatments, removing the need for whole-field treatment of fallow fields with low weed densities. Concern about the sustainability of herbicide-reliant weed management systems remain and there has not been interest in the use of weed detection systems for alternative weed control technologies, such as targeted tillage. In this paper, we discuss the use of a targeted tillage technique for site-specific weed control in large-scale crop production systems. Three small-scale prototypes were used for engineering and weed control efficacy testing across a range of species and growth stages. With confidence established in the design approach and a demonstrated 100% weed-control potential, a 6-m wide pre-commercial prototype, the “Weed Chipper,” was built incorporating commercially available weed-detection cameras for practical field-scale evaluation. This testing confirmed very high (90%) weed control efficacies and associated low levels (1.8%) of soil disturbance where the weed density was fewer than 1.0 plant 10 m−2 in a commercial fallow. These data established the suitability of this mechanical approach to weed control for conservation cropping systems. The development of targeted tillage for fallow weed control represents the introduction of site-specific, nonchemical weed control for conservation cropping systems.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Weed Science Society of America, 2020

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Footnotes

Associate Editor: Prashant Jha, Iowa State University

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