Why is Weed Management So Important This Season?

After the high rainfall we received the 2022-23 season, it is critical to take action to manage weed growth.

Rain increases the moisture and nutrients in the soil, leading to a higher weed growth. These weeds compete with your crops for light, nutrients, and water to grow. They also introduce many different pests and diseases to your crop.

Using proven weed management strategies will help you to prevent the spread of weeds this year, increasing your crop health and yield.

Why are weeds an issue?

Weeds can cause many issues in the growth of your crops including increased competition for necessary resources, the introduction of pests and diseases, and decreased quality.

  • Competition for resources: Weeds typically have fast growth rates and shallow root systems, allowing them to quickly absorb soil nutrients, water, and other resources. This means that there are fewer resources available for the crop, which can decrease their growth and yield. As weeds grow, they also physically shade crops, reducing the amount of light that reaches the crop. Overall, competition with weed growth can decrease crop health and yield.
  • Introduction of pests and diseases: Weeds are hosting grounds for pests and diseases. They are often able to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions and are adapted to grow in a variety of soil types, moisture levels, and temperatures. This can make them more resilient to pests and diseases and allow them to build up populations that can then spread to nearby crops.
  • Decreasing crop quality: Along with notably decreasing the yield of your crop, weeds can also impact the quality of it. Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the crop can be negatively affected – with weeds stealing nutrients, light and water; pests causing direct damage to crops by feeding on them and transmitting diseases; and diseases causing a range of symptoms, including stunted growth and reduced yield. These problems reduce the overall quality of the crop, therefore decreasing the price, or leaving it unsuitable for selling.

Proven ways to tackle weeds

  • Herbicides: Herbicides are chemicals that are most often sprayed onto your crops or soil to kill weeds. They are effective and practical in a wide variety of situations, and often provide the most economical means of control.
  • Seed terminator: The Seed Terminator is an attachment that retrofits to harvesters that terminates weed seeds before they grow. This attachment works during harvesting by smashing the weed seed to dust, eliminating the risk of them resprouting in the next season’s crop.
  • Seed Treatments: Seed treatments can be an effective way to manage weeds in crops. By providing an early start in weed control, they reduce the need for additional herbicide applications later in the season.
  • Seed Cleaning: Seed cleaning can be done after harvesting and before resowing. Cleaning your seed removes any unwanted materials, including weeds, and it will leave you with the best pick of your crop!

Although it can’t stop weed growth after it has started, cleaning your seed does work to improve crop quality by removing any weeds before you sow.

Other harmful materials including smaller seeds, dust and chaff are also filtered out using sizing sieves and air extraction, leaving you with only the highest quality seed.

Summary

Weeds are always a problem for farmers, but after a higher level of rainfall, this problem just gets bigger.

Weeds compete with crops for nutrients, water, and light, and can harbor pests and diseases that affect both crops and surrounding ecosystems. Implementing an effective weed management strategy will prevent the spread of unwanted plants, reduce the need for herbicides, and minimise the negative impacts of weeds on crop health.

References

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