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Targeting Weed Seeds In-Crop: A New Weed Control Paradigm for Global Agriculture

  • Michael Walsh (a1), Peter Newman (a1) and Stephen Powles (a1)


The widespread evolution of multiple herbicide resistance in the most serious annual weeds infesting Australian cropping fields has forced the development of alternative, non-chemical weed control strategies, especially new techniques at grain harvest. Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) systems target weed seed during commercial grain harvest operations and act to minimize fresh seed inputs to the seedbank. These systems exploit two key biological weaknesses of targeted annual weed species: seed retention at maturity and a short-lived seedbank. HWSC systems, including chaff carts, narrow windrow burning, bale direct, and the Harrington Seed Destructor, target the weed seed bearing chaff material during commercial grain harvest. The destruction of these weed seeds at or after grain harvest facilitates weed seedbank decline, and when combined with conventional herbicide use, can drive weed populations to very low levels. Very low weed populations are key to sustainability of weed control practices. Here we introduce HWSC as a new paradigm for global agriculture and discuss how these techniques have aided Australian grain cropping and their potential utility in global agriculture.

La ampliamente diseminada evolución de resistencia a múltiples herbicidas en las malezas anuales más serias infestando los sistemas de cultivos australianos ha forzado el desarrollo de estrategias de control de malezas alternativas, especialmente nuevas técnicas al momento de la cosecha de granos. Los sistemas de control de semillas de malezas en cosecha (HWSC) se enfocan en las semillas de malezas durante las operaciones de cosecha comercial de granos y actúan para minimizar el suministro de semillas frescas al banco de semillas. Estos sistemas explotan dos debilidades biológicas clave de las especies de malezas anuales de interés: retención de semilla al momento de la madurez y un banco de semillas de corta vida. Los sistemas HWSC, incluyendo las carretas de descarga de grano, la quema de líneas angostas de residuos después de la cosecha, el embalado directo, y el Destructor de Semilla Harrington, se enfocan en los residuos de cosecha que contienen semillas de maleza durante la cosecha comercial de grano. La destrucción de estas semillas de malezas durante o después de la cosecha del grano facilitan la reducción del banco de semillas de malezas, y cuando se combinan con el uso convencional de herbicidas, pueden llevar las poblaciones de malezas a niveles muy bajos. Tener poblaciones muy bajas de malezas es clave para la sostenibilidad de las prácticas de control de malezas. Aquí, nosotros introducimos HWSC como un nuevo paradigma para la agricultura global y discutimos como estas técnicas han ayudado a la producción australiana de granos y su utilidad potencial en la agricultura global.


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Weed Technology
  • ISSN: 0890-037X
  • EISSN: 1550-2740
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