Going into Autumn was a dream run; full profile of moisture, good germination of weeds, timely spraying and ideal sowing conditions. Apart from the odd breakdown, every available machine was flat-strap.
Increasing rainfall events and damp conditions from late Autumn slowed sowing although increased daily workload intensity, by restricting to late morning starts and early afternoon finishes. Sowing pushed into boggy conditions with many achieving three quarters to full winter crop plant.
Mild conditions and minimal frosts experienced during autumn and winter accelerated early sown crops, along with grass and broadleaf weeds. Spraying these crops are a high priority due to immanent canopy closure. Herbicide applications commenced with ground rigs, many now switching to aircraft, if available.
Winter crop areas unable to be planted due wet conditions will be considered for summer crop or long fallow options. One bonus, a great opportunity now to develop and implement an integrated weed management plan for problematic weeds including; ryegrass, black oats, sowthistle, fleabane, windmill, barnyard and other summer grasses on those unsown areas.
Pre-emergent herbicides are increasingly becoming important, with this season highlighting how important they are in reducing overall frequency, distribution and vigour of targeted weeds. Since a reduction in early weed competition resulted, the urgency for a very early post emergent spray diminished, especially since most paddocks are very wet for ground applications.
Since experiencing above average rainfalls, addressing crop nutrition and nitrogen requirements will be an important factor to maximise yield, especially this season when moisture is plentiful. Managing crop foliar diseases will be increasingly important under prolonged wet conditions.
Mice, wow, what a challenge. Numbers increased from late winter 2020, damaging a range of winter crops, then destroying selected summer crops. In the baiting process they also destroyed and contaminated hay, stored grain and damaged machinery electrical systems. Mice numbers were required to be continually managed through baiting in some areas through current winter crop establishment. Current reduction in mice pressure has been welcomed, although preparation will be required to manage them if numbers increase from late winter/spring. Mice numbers over the coming spring and summer will influence areas to be sown to summer crop or managed as long fallows.
For more information, contact your local Pursehouse Rural Agronomist. Find your nearest Pursehouse Rural branch today at www.pursehouserural.com.au/locations.
By John Redden – Agronomist – Pursehouse Rural Coonabarabran