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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative – Rule #37

News article

from The University of Western Australia

#37 Rules of thumb
Rule of thumb: A useful principle having wide application but not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable in every situation.“Then they measured my right thumb, and desired no more; for by a mathematical computation, that twice round the thumb is once around the wrist, and so on to the neck and waist, and by the help of my old shirt, which I displayed on the ground before them for a pattern, they fitted me exactly” – Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels.

Where would we be without rules of thumb in agriculture? No, they are not 100% scientifically accurate, but they can be very helpful in decision making.

Dr Michael Walsh from AHRI has developed a new rule of thumb from his research into weed seed retention at harvest – Australia’s main cropping winter weeds shed seeds at about 1% per day during harvest.

Our common harvest weed seed control tools rely on the weeds retaining seed at harvest time. In his research, Michael found that ryegrass, wild radish, brome grass and wild oats all retained at least 75% of their weed seeds at the first opportunity to harvest. There were differences in seed retention between species, but not as great as expected.

This research also highlights why annual ryegrass is a herbicide resistance world champion, setting more seed than the other species. Wild oats, on the other hand, was a distant fourth in the weed seed set stakes.

Created December 9, 2014 | Category: Farming Smarter

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