Management of windmill grass in a stubble retained system.
Case study: Bruce Staniforth– control of windmill grass in a retained stubble system.
Property owners: Bruce Staniforth, “Bogong” Condobolin.
Property size: 8000 ha
Enterprises: Cereals, sheep and cattle.
Soil and pH: red soil with a pH of 5.5
Bruce is a mixed farmer and describes himself as fairly conventional. He tends to utilise poorer soils for grazing oats and crops his better country.
Paddocks are usually only cropped for three years before going back into a pasture phase of lucerne and medics for seven or eight years, or when the pasture starts to deteriorate.
Windmill grass control:
Bruce tends to find windmill grass isn’t a big problem in his cropping country, the initial fallow period and subsequent stubble treatments tend to keep it under control.
He sprays fallow in late winter then follows with an initial cultivation for soil preparation and the cultivation usually occurs when the windmill grass is quite young and easy to control.
But with herbicide resistance a possible future problem, Bruce is happy to consider new strategies for weed control such as narrow windrow burning.
Image sourced from the GRDC
Bruce grazes his stubbles but is quick to remove stock if a weather event is likely.
Key issues for control of windmill grass:
For Bruce the key issues to controlling not just windmill grass but all weeds is effective control and timeliness of application, whether tilling or spraying. But he is quick to state although windmill grass can be a nuisance in the cropping phase, he looks forward to seeing it in the pastures after summer rain!