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Cedar fight goes across fence and state lines

TAGS: CONSERVATIONLIVESTOCKCurt ArensA few members of the Bristow, Neb. area crew pose in front of the trucks they purchased to help on prescribed burnsCRUCIAL CREW: A few members of the Bristow, Neb., area crew pose in front of the trucks they bought to help on prescribed burns. Over the past eight years, this group has burned more than 30,000 acres in their fight to reclaim grasslands from invasive eastern red cedar.Working together has been a successful formula for Nebraska and South Dakota advocates of prescribed fire.

Curt Arens | Dec 23, 2020

Gathering landowners to work together on prescribed burn projects has been a winning model in the successful defeat of eastern red cedar encroachment on grazing lands. Normally, prescribed burn associations work across fence lines with neighboring landowners.

Over the past decade, eastern members of the Niobrara Valley Prescribed Fire Association, covering much of north-central Nebraska, have not only reached across fence lines, but also state lines into neighboring South Dakota, to beat the invasion of ERC.

Related: New strategy in battle against invasive cedars

It started in 2010 when Jerald Dennis, Bristow, Neb., sheared ERC trees in a large portion of family-owned grasslands on the south shore of Lake Francis Case in South Dakota, behind Fort Randall Dam. He piled the dead cedar trees for curing. In 2011, Dennis deferred grazing on the tract, to grow fuel for the prescribed burn he was planning the following spring.

“It took an entire year to plan the burn, coordinating between five landowners, four government agencies along with local law enforcement and fire departments,” Dennis explains. On that burn with Dennis, Dave Steffen from Gregory, S.D., and other interested landowners in the area watched as observers.

Dennis has worked at Nebraska State Bank in Bristow for nearly 40 years. Most of that time, he has also served on the Bristow Fire Department. His family owns about 2,000 acres of pasture in both states, so he’s been involved in prescribed burning for the past 13 years. The Prescribed Fire Association that Dennis works with has conducted burns on just over 30,000 acres since 2012.

They normally develop their burn schedule at a meeting each February, so 10 to 12 people can plan to be involved with each burn. The local members of the association bought two Army surplus pickup trucks to transport skid water pumping units with 250-gallon tanks, hoses and a reel they borrow from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The burn near Fort Randall encompassed 3,145 acres. “We had a well-seasoned crew of 12 from Nebraska working that burn,” Dennis says. “It also helped that we had Lake Francis Case to the north and a highway to the south.”

Steffen watched the Nebraska crew and became interested in conducting more prescribed burns locally. “The following year, Steffen and a few other interested parties came down from South Dakota and attended our local meeting, and a few controlled burns,” Dennis says. “We collaborated on burns in South Dakota by helping that group develop burn plans and assisting with the burns. Our motivation was to teach their group how to safely conduct controlled burns, so they could teach others in the state.”

In 2017, the South Dakota group formed its own Mid-Missouri River Prescribed Burn Association —the first in the state — with Steffen and several neighbors as driving forces in the effort.

“Cedar trees were just beginning to become a problem,” Steffen recalls. “I looked at maps that showed the encroachment problems, especially big bunches along the Missouri River.”  The aerial maps showed about one-third of Gregory County with cedar tree problems. “Thanks to funds from the South Dakota Grasslands Coalition, we sent out a questionnaire, asking landowners about cedars on their land, and if they would consider prescribed fire as a control.”

Jerald DennisA prescribed burnLIGHTING IT UP:  Two years before the actual burn near Fort Randall Dam in South Dakota, Jerald Dennis sheared several large cedar trees and pushed them up against mature live trees. In 2012, when they started their prescribed burn in that area, the sheared trees ignited easily and burned into the live trees.

Steffen says that working with the Nebraska group helped their association in South Dakota organize and conduct burns of its own.

“We’ve had burns in the hundreds of acres so far, mostly in Gregory County, but also in Charles Mix County. That included a couple of big ranches,” Steffen says. “In many cases, nonresident landowners contact us about conducting a burn on their property. In most cases, we like it when landowners participate in the burn themselves, but with some nonresidents, we accept a payment for doing the burns.”

The Mid-Missouri River group now covers four counties, including Gregory, Charles Mix, Brule and Lyman.

“From the prescribed burns, we have witnessed tremendous recovery of warm-season native grasses on those grasslands where there was grazing management to go along with it,” Steffen says. “There has been fantastic recovery to a typical native plant community in the rough hills and breaks of the Missouri River.”

Cedar treesDEAD TIMBER:  At specific heights, cedar trees do not stand a chance against a well-run prescribed burn. Most of the trees pictured here are completed destroyed. Grass recovery in an area like this is surprisingly rapid.

Steffen says that landowners are amazed with the amount of new grass growth there has been within a year’s time. “Keep in mind, we’ve had plenty of rain in recent years to grow grass, so we have been above normal in soil moisture,” he adds.

For the group based in Bristow, fire has been a worthwhile tool in their war against ERC for more than a decade. “We add new, younger members to our group every year,” Dennis says. “Most of them are members of the fire department, so they are comfortable with conducting a burn. We all work together, and it is great knowing that the other guys have got your back.”

Learn more about Nebraska prescribed fire associations at the state’s Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever website, nebraskapf.com. Learn about the Mid-Missouri River Prescribed Burn Association of South Dakota online at midmissouririverpba.com.RELATEDYoung farmers get involved in ag groupsNovember 17, 2020Landowners band together to confront eastern red cedarJune 22, 2020

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New strategy in battle against invasive cedars

TAGS: RANCHINGCurt ArensControlled burn in field

FIRE IT UP: Prescribed fire is one of the most comprehensive tools available to farmers and ranchers in their battle against invasive eastern red cedar. Fire does especially well when control measures are first employed on smaller trees located on intact grasslands, and then working back into mature stands.Start with intact grasslands, and work on controlling small cedars first.

Curt Arens | Dec 15, 2020

What if we’ve been going about reclaiming grazing lands from encroachment of invasive eastern red cedar trees all wrong? There is no denying the issue.

Between 2005 and 2015, cedar seedlings in Nebraska doubled to nearly 275 million. The Nebraska Forest Service estimates that 333,134 forest acres in cedar in 2015 amounts to about 22% of the state’s forested area.https://b710577702287762840fb1d33fc50ac6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Thanks to mechanical removal and other means, the spread has slowed since 2009, and the state’s cedar forest declined by 30,000 acres between 2013 and 2015. However, the problem remains monumental, and the state’s rangeland and livestock producers are negatively affected if the problem isn’t controlled.

At a series of recent workshops sponsored in part by the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, Nebraska Cattlemen and the Sandhills Task Force, Nebraska rangeland ecologist Dirac Twidwell told producers that our strategy so far is flawed.

Rather than dumping endless resources into the worst areas of encroachment, and trying to tackle large cedar trees and clear vast areas, Twidwell suggested trying something new. He believes that the best and most efficient use of resources is to start in areas of rangeland where cedar trees are just beginning to invade, clearing those areas first, and then working back into the worst spots.

Starting with grasslands

“This strategy is more effective when people consider the ecology of encroachment, which starts with the reproduction pathway,” Twidwell explained. “Spread into grasslands comes from a seed source, and 95% of cedar encroachment in the Nebraska Sandhills occurred within 200 yards of a seed source.”

If producers manage cedars by only cutting mature, reproducing trees, then landowners can never catch up to seed distribution. “That means that they have to come back to cut again in the future,” Twidwell said. “Manage the seed, prevent seedlings from becoming mature and anchor efforts to healthy grasslands.”

After that battle is won, then push back against the more mature stands, he added.

“Multiple management options have the potential to manage the encroachment process,” Twidwell said. “There is no silver bullet. But only fire has the potential to manage all phases of encroachment at once, because fire consumes seed, kills seedlings and can kill mature trees and larger stands.”

At a low cost of only $5 to $10 per acre, no other tool at a landowner’s disposal has the potential to do all four things at once like fire.

The best success stories in winning the battle against encroachment have been where landowners have banded together to use prescribed fire to burn grasslands before cedar trees become a visible problem. “These areas have been shown to be more capable of preventing grassland loss,” Twidwell added.

“Woody encroachment is a national rangeland problem, and it is taking land out of agricultural production,” he noted. “It shows we have weakness in our management, and it is tied to trees.”

Intact rangelands are most resilient to woody encroachment, but to prevent the expansion and loss of intact grasslands, new seed-producing trees must be prevented.

“The Great Plains still has some of the most intact grasslands remaining on the planet,” Twidwell said. “The Sandhills produced more than 30 billion pounds of total grass production last year.”

But no state or region has fixed the cedar problem once encroachment has taken over, he said. “Don’t wait to act,” Twidwell said. “You can’t control the problem just on your own property. We are seeing the need to band together and to scale up and think bigger. The areas where we see landowners cooperating and working together are the areas in the Great Plains where we are seeing the greatest success.”

Learn more by contacting Twidwell at dirac.twidwell@unl.edu.

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Robotic weed removal eliminates need for expensive hand crews

TAGS: TECHNOLOGYTodd FitchetteFarmWise weederSingle-

Single-line organic cauliflower is weeded with a robot developed and operated by the Salinas-based FarmWise.FarmWise offers a business model that provides weeding services, freeing the grower from having to own and maintain a machine.

Todd Fitchette | Dec 04, 2020

Produce growers in Arizona and California are being introduced to the futuristic world of George Jetson as robots and artificial intelligence replace labor crews used to rogue weeds from lettuce, cauliflower, and other vegetable crops.

Salinas, Calif.-based FarmWise is a service company with a robotic weeding machine capable of rouging weeds at speeds of one-to-two miles per hour. This eliminates the need for expensive hand crews or chemical herbicides.

The FarmWise weeding machine is part of a service FarmWise provides. Unlike some companies that sell the machines, FarmWise offers a business model that provides weeding services, freeing the grower from having to own and maintain a machine.

The Titan FT35 is the third generation of machines developed by FarmWise. Company Chief Executive Officer Sebastien Boyer said testing on previous generations of machine took place over the past several years. The newest generation of machine is being used commercially in California and Arizona. https://c8c1c3523498a4e6800111cf107f6155.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The machine uses artificial intelligence to learn the various crops by studying the plant structure, according to Sal Espinoza, regional manager with FarmWise. Once the computer successfully learns the stem structure of the produce plant, the ability to cull weeds is simple. This process can take a few months of machine learning to get it right, Boyer said.

The machines can be outfitted with as many as six weeders. These are the rows of internal components that contain the metal knives that cut through the soil and rogue weeds as cameras track the vegetation and the AI of the onboard computer determines whether the plants are the planted produce, or weeds.

Boyer said his long-term goal is to find additional ways to mechanize the manual labor and tedious tasks performed by human hands. Through the machine learning the AI can distinguish cauliflower, celery, broccoli, and cabbage. Other crops including tomatoes and pepper are being perfected.

The company’s current business model is focused on providing services to produce growers in the desert region of southern California and Arizona after an inaugural run in the Salinas Valley. Boyer said he is also looking at European markets to expand his machine weeding technology.

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cover cropsJosh HiemstraPLANTING GREEN: Seventy-one percent of farmers responding to a national cover crop survey reported they had better weed control by planting green, and 68% reported better soil moisture management even during a wet spring.

National survey reveals farmers like cover crops

Survey documents a wide range of benefits as acreage expands.

Fran O’Leary | Aug 20, 2020

“Many U.S. farmers have turned to cover crops as part of their strategy to improve soil health while reducing input costs and maintaining yields,” reports Mike Smith, who managed the national survey for the nonprofit organization Conservation Technology Information Center.

Survey participants averaged 465 acres in cover crops in 2019, an increase of 38% in four years. The USDA Census of Agriculture found a 50% increase in cover crop acreage during the five-year period between 2012 and 2017.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Multiple benefits

“Farmers are using cover crops for a variety of reasons, and many have tried new approaches to cover cropping,” Smith says. “This year’s survey also indicated that some of the concerns that many growers have had about the effects of cover crops on planting dates in a wet year turned out not to be true. In fact, in many cases, cover crops helped farmers plant earlier in the very wet spring of 2019.”

Despite the crippling rainfall that significantly delayed planting across much of the country in 2019, more than 90% of farmers participating in the survey reported that cover crops allowed them to plant earlier or at the same time as fields without cover crops. Among those who had “planted green,” seeding cash crops into growing cover crops, 54% said the practice helped them plant earlier than on other fields.

These findings are among several new insights from the 2019-20 National Cover Crop Survey, conducted by CTIC with financial support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the American Seed Trade Association. These organizations have worked together on several past national cover crop surveys, with the first survey dating back to 2012.

The 2019-20 survey, which includes perspectives from 1,172 farmers representing every state, is the first by SARE, CTIC and ASTA to include detailed exploration of planting green — a tactic employed by 52% of the respondents — as well as crop insurance use among cover croppers and the impact of cover crops on the profitability of horticultural operations.

According to Rob Myers, regional director of Extension programs for North Central SARE, “Many farmers are finding that cover crops improve the resiliency of their soil, and the longer they use cover crops, the greater the yield increases and cost savings that are reported by producers.”

The survey shows a majority of farmers are buying cover crop seed from cover crop seed companies and retailers.

“We are pleased to see farmers appreciate the expertise of cover crop seed companies, with 46% saying they buy from them and another 42% buying from retailers,” says Jane DeMarchi with ASTA. “Professionally produced cover crop seed is grown for seed from the start and has been selected, harvested, cleaned and tested for performance. The study shows farmers are using a range of cover crop seed and mixes to address their individual needs, with 46% paying $15 or under per acre.”

Of the 1,172 farmers who provided responses in the 2019-20 survey, 81% were commodity producers (corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton), and 19% categorized themselves as horticultural producers.

Following are some highlights from the survey.

Higher yields, lower costs

The previous five national cover crop surveys sponsored by SARE, CTIC and ASTA all reported yield boosts from cover crops, most notably in the drought year of 2012 — soybean yields were 11.6% improved following cover crops, and corn yields were 9.6% better.

In 2019, when wet early conditions prevailed across much of the corn and soybean regions, yield gains were more modest but still statistically significant. Following the use of cover crops, soybean yields improved 5% and corn yields increased 2% on average, while spring wheat yields improved 2.6%.

Many farmers reported economic benefits from cover crops beyond yield improvements. Of farmers growing corn, soybeans, spring wheat or cotton, the following percent had savings on production costs with fertilizers and/or herbicides:

  • Soybeans: 41% saved on herbicide costs and 41% on fertilizer costs
  • Corn: 39% saved on herbicide costs and 49% on fertilizer costs
  • Spring wheat: 32% saved on herbicide costs and 43% on fertilizer costs
  • Cotton: 71% saved on herbicide costs and 53% on fertilizer costs

While cover crop seed purchase and planting do represent an extra cost for farmers, most are finding ways to economize on cover crop seed costs. Whereas earlier surveys from 2012 and 2013 reported on a median cover crop seed cost of $25 per acre, most farmers reported paying less in 2019.

Of the responding farmers, 16% paid only $6 $10 per acre for cover crop seed, 27% paid $11 to $15 per acre, 20% paid $16 to $20 per acre, and 14% paid $21 to $25 per acre. Only about one-fourth paid $26 or more per acre, according to the report.

Planting green

Planting green refers to planting a cash crop such as corn, soybeans or cotton into a still-living cover crop, and then terminating it soon after with herbicides, a roller-crimper or other methods. In this year’s survey, 52% of farmers planted green into cover crops on at least some of their fields. In the 2016-17 report, 39% of respondents had planted green.

Of the farmers planting green:

  • 71% reported better weed control
  • 68% reported better soil moisture management, which is particularly valuable during a wet spring

The majority of farmers said levels of early-season diseases, slugs and voles — often feared as the potential downsides of planting green into cover crops — were about the same or better after planting green into cover crops. Though many farmers noted they did not have problems with voles, several pointed out challenges with cutworms when planting green.

The top two reasons farmers plant cover crops:

  1. Most use cover crops to improve soil structure or soil health.
  2. Many plant cover crops to improve weed management.

The majority of farmers responding to the survey said they plant cereal rye as a cover crop. Radishes are the second most popular cover crop. But when they are using a mix, radishes are the No. 1 most planted cover crop, followed closely by a rye mix. Half of respondents say they are increasing the number of crops in their cover crop mix.

For the full survey report, including past years’ survey reports, visit sare.org/covercropsurvey.

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Kansas State University Researchers Make Breakthrough Toward Understanding Glyphosate Resistance in Pigweeds

 Article ID: 690983

Released: 12-Mar-2018 6:05 PM EDT

  • Credit: Kansas State University

  • Kansas State University researchers have discovered the mechanism by which weeds develop resistance to glyphosate, an herbicide. Their work could lead to improved weed control strategies and improved production in farm fields and other areas where weeds affect plants and crops. Pictured, left to right, are Mithila Jugulam, Dal-Hoe Koo, Bernd Friebe and Bikram Gill.

Newswise — MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State University researchers have discovered how weeds develop resistance to the popular herbicide glyphosate, a finding that could have broad future implications in agriculture and many other industries.

Their work is detailed in an article that appears in the March 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, known as PNAS and considered to be one of the most-cited journals for scientific research in the world. According to its website, PNAS receives more than 21 million hits per month.

“Herbicide resistance in weeds has been a huge problem, not only in Kansas and the U.S. but many parts of the world,” said Mithila Jugulam, a K-State weed scientist and co-author of the PNAS article.

“What we found that was new was how these weeds have evolved resistance to glyphosate in such a short time. If you look at the evolution of glyphosate resistance in Palmer amaranth, based on our research, it appears to have occurred very rapidly.”

Palmer amaranth and common waterhemp are the two troublesome pigweeds in Kansas agricultural fields, as well as other parts of the United States. Glyphosate – the key ingredient in the popular Roundup brand – is the herbicide that is widely used for controlling many weeds. But Jugulam notes that glyphosate resistance is becoming more prevalent in many states.

“We found that glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth plants carry the glyphosate target gene in hundreds of copies,” Jugulam said. “Therefore, even if you applied an amount much higher than the recommended dose of glyphosate, the plants would not be killed.”

Bikram Gill, director of Kansas State University’s Wheat Genetics Resource Center who has worked in plant genetics for nearly 50 years, said the researchers knew pretty quickly that the genetic makeup of resistant weeds was different.

“Normally, the genetic material in all organisms – including humans – is found in long, linear DNA molecules, called chromosomes,” said Gill, another co-author of the study. “But when (K-State researchers) Dal-Hoe Koo and Bernd Friebe, the chromosome experts on the team, looked at these glyphosate-resistant weeds, the glyphosate target gene, along with other genes actually escaped from the chromosomes and formed a separate, self-replicating circular DNA structure.”

Scientists refer to this structure as extra-chromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA). Each eccDNA has one copy of the gene that produces an enzyme that is the target for glyphosate.

“Because of the presence of hundreds of eccDNAs in each cell, the amount of the enzyme is also abundant,” Gill said. “Therefore, the plant is not affected by glyphosate application and the weed is resistant to the herbicide.”

Gill said the indications are that once a weed has acquired eccDNA, the resistance may evolve as quickly as in one generation.

“We think that the resistance via eccDNA is transitory: It can be passed to the weed’s offspring and other related weed species,” he said. “We have somehow caught it in between becoming permanently resistant. Eventually, we think that these eccDNAs can be incorporated into the linear chromosome. If that happens, then they will become resistant forever.”

The same K-State group recently published research on common waterhemp in the scientific journal, Plant Physiology, reporting that “a portion of the linear chromosome containing the target gene broke to form a ring chromosome carrying several copies of the glyphosate target gene,” according to Jugulam.

Armed with their new knowledge, the researchers can begin work on developing strategies to negate resistance in weeds.

“It’s been known that these circular DNA/chromosomal structures can be unstable,” Jugulam said. “What we want to explore is, for example, if we do not apply glyphosate repeatedly or reduce the selection by glyphosate, can we make these ring-structured chromosomes unstable and once again make these plants susceptible to glyphosate.”

The research team notes that farmers should incorporate best management strategies – such as rotating herbicides and crops – to reduce weed pressure: “This may allow evolving resistance to dissipate as we know that these eccDNAs and ring chromosomes are unstable and can be lost in the absence of herbicide selection pressure,” Jugulam said.

“Glyphosate has a lot of good characteristics as an herbicide molecule,” she added. “The recommendations that K-State and many others are promoting is ‘do not abuse glyphosate.’ Use the recommended integrated weed management strategies so that we do not lose the option of using glyphosate for the sustainability of our agriculture.”

Funding for this research was provided in part by grants from the Kansas Wheat Commission; the Kansas Crop Improvement Association; a National Science Foundation grant received through the Wheat Genetics Resource Center; the K-State Department of Agronomy (College of Agriculture); and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Kansas State University worked in collaboration with researchers at Clemson University, the USDA Agricultural Research Service (Mississippi) and Michigan State University.

The full article can be accessed on the website for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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BCPC News

20 November 2017 08:45:04 20 November 2017 08:45:04 |Arable,Machinery and Equipment,News,Products

State-of-the-art weed detection tech could be available within few years

The research collaboration between Bosch and Bayer is helping farms turn digital

The research collaboration between Bosch and Bayer is helping farms turn digital

New technology which will apply state-of-the-art weed detection to apply herbicide more accurately could be available for use by 2020.

As part of a three-year research partnership between two German agricultural and tech giants, Bayer and Bosch are developing smart spraying technology.

Using camera sensors, it can differentiate between crops and weeds and target weeds with pesticides – at lightning speed, in a single process. It is hoped the technology will be available by 2020.

“Smart spraying sustainably clears fields of weeds. This safeguard yields while minimising environmental impact,” Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management, said.

The rise of such technology is seen as an important step forward as agriculture leaders advance innovations that are climate-friendly, to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

World hunger is also a growing problem for the industry. According to predictions made by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), farmers will have to sustainably generate around 50% more yield by 2050 in order to feed the global population.

“We want to venture together with Bosch into new territory, combining different technologies to ensure that herbicides are only applied in areas where they are really necessary,” Tobias Menne, head of digital farming at Bayer, said.

‘Field manager’

The technology solution will offer a digital “field manager” which assesses the field and recommends the best time to treat weeds.

Weeds can be difficult to identify, but by using camera sensors, the technology can determine what is growing in the field and then adopt a targeted application technique to spray crop protection agents specifically on weeds.

The multiple camera sensors, which are spread across the entire width of the crop sprayer, take a continuous series of pictures, identifying the different weeds and allowing the optimum treatment to be defined.

While the crop sprayer is still crossing the field, the herbicide is sprayed in the required quantity and mixture using the appropriate application parameters.

While the relevant weeds are targeted, weedless areas remain untouched. All this occurs within milliseconds.

‘Quantum leap’

“Smart spraying is a quantum leap in the fight against weeds,” said Björn Kiepe, head of agronomy at Bayer’s digital farming unit.

“We are combining modern weed identification technology with the ability to apply different active substances as the situation demands. This process is very precise, with a spatial resolution of well under one meter. This will make it even easier for farmers to practice sustainable crop protection.”

Bosch has been transferring its automotive technology to the agriculture industry, and is already generating sales worth 1 billion euros as a result.

By the middle of the next decade, it plans to double sales of technologies for agriculture. “Bosch can do more than cars and cordless screwdrivers. We are bringing high tech to farms, opening up a market worth billions,” said Dr. Markus Heyn.

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N quensland register

Why integrated weed management is critical

Cropping
WEED MANAGEMENT: Director of the University of Sydney’s Weed Research program Dr Michael Walsh says HWSC plays an important non-chemical role in stopping weed seeds from entering the soil seedbank.

WEED MANAGEMENT: Director of the University of Sydney’s Weed Research program Dr Michael Walsh says HWSC plays an important non-chemical role in stopping weed seeds from entering the soil seedbank.

An integrated weed management approach is essential to manage hard-to-kill weeds, avoid costly, ineffective control measures and preserve the life of herbicide chemistries.

 AN integrated weed management approach that incorporates herbicide and non-
herbicide tools is critical if growers are to manage hard-to-kill weeds, avoid costly, ineffective control measures and preserve the life of important herbicide chemistries.

 

 

University of Sydney’s Weed Research program director Dr Michael Walsh said herbicide resistance was an escalating problem in the northern grain growing region. While growers in Queensland and NSW have traditionally faced fewer problems than their western counterparts, that’s rapidly changing, he said.

Dr Walsh has played an integral role in developing one of Australia’s leading non-herbicide weed management tactics, harvest weed seed control (HWSC), which focuses on the capture and destruction of weed seeds.

“Annual weeds such as ryegrass, wild radish, brome grass and wild oats have adapted to cropping systems, growing to similar heights as cereals and maturing at the same time,” Dr Walsh said.

GRDC VIDEO: Integrated weed management explained.

HWSC plays an important non-chemical role in stopping weed seeds from entering the soil seedbank and can dramatically reduce the emergence of hard-to-kill weeds in the following season.

“It involves collecting, destroying or burning weed seeds that are present at harvest and is particularly effective on problem species such as annual ryegrass and wild radish. There can also be a significant impact on the more difficult to collect species such as black oats, and brome grass.”

A new tool to help growers incorporate HWSC into their weed management program is now available with the release of a GRDC Know More video explaining the use and benefits of HWSC.

“Methods range from something as simple as a chute on the back of the harvester to more complex systems such as a mill system which is integrated into the rear of the harvester,” Dr Walsh said.

“My advice to anyone just starting out is to start simple and assess how HWSC techniques can be effectively incorporated into the management program before advancing to something like the Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor, chaff carts or even a bale direct system.

“By keeping weed seed loads low, growers can greatly reduce the risk of herbicide resistance development, and potentially protect the efficacy of important herbicide chemistries for decades.”

The story Integrated weed management critical | Video first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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iot-logo

NZ government funds targeted weeding initiative.

By Stuart Corner on Oct 16 2017 2:53PM

Killer drones coming – for weeds

It’s a vision straight out of a sci-fi movie: a fleet of drones criss-crossing a farm, scanning the ground below for weeds and when they are found zapping them with a laser-beam.

However, the New Zealand government is spending $NZ1 million in the hope of making that vision a reality. The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is giving the money to a partnership between government research organisation, AgResearch, the Universities of Auckland and NZ-based technology firm Redfern Solutions to examine the development of such technology.

Program leader Dr Kioumars Ghamkhar said the aim was to use cameras and software to identify the weeds based on their unique chemical signatures and how they reflect light, and then locate them precisely using GPS.

“From there, we think smart spraying (rather than systemic and non-targeted use of chemicals), or the right kind of laser mounted on the drone could hone in and damage the weed,” Ghamkhar said.

“We know there are lasers now available that could be suitable, and that they are extremely accurate, so if lasers are used, it would also avoid damaging the useful plants around the weed.

“The effectiveness of lasers against plants has been tested overseas before but that was in the lab, and we’ll be taking it out in the field to test and see if it works as we have planned.”

There are other initiatives underway suggesting that the weed identification, if not killing, is perfectly feasible.

IoT Hub reported last month that Netherlands-based crop spraying equipment maker Agrifac was a planning to incorporate weed recognition technology developed by French startup Bilberry, in conjunction with Nokia, CETA, Institut Mines-Télécom and Tampere University of Technology into crop sprayers sold in Australia.

Also, Hitachi Australia has developed technology that takes imagery from drone mounted cameras able to respond to a very wide range of wavelengths, analyses this data in the cloud and provides weed identity data to the farmer.

The company is looking to commercialise the service including providing the drone and training in its use to the farmer.

Earlier this year, the Electron Science Research Institute (ESRI) and Edith Cowan University in WA was reported to be close to commercialising a laser system for identifying (but not killing) weeds that used lasers of three different frequencies.

Copyright © IoT Hub, nextmedia Pty Ltd

 

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tuta absoluta

Tuta absoluta in tomato    

Zygogramma beetles

Zygogramma on Parthenium

The International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) <www.plantprotection.org> and the Feed the Future IPM Innovation Lab at Virginia Tech <http://www.oired.vt.edu/ipmcrsp/> are organizing two symposia at the First International Conference on Biological Control. See details below. We are now soliciting presentations for these two symposia.

Paper submission details

If you have an interest in presenting a paper in either of these symposia, please submit:

  1. Your name and email address:
  2. Title of presentation:
  3. Name(s) of author(s):
  4. Address of corresponding author:
  5. Abstract of no more than 150 words:

Deadline for submission: December 31, 2017

Where to submit your request:

For symposium 1, submit your request to R. Muniappan- rmuni@vt.edu

For symposium 2, submit your request to E.A. Heinrichs- eheinrichs2@unl.edu

Conference and symposia details

Conference title: First International Conference on Biological Control.

Venue: Hotel Le Meridien, Bangalore, India. http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/photos/index.html?propertyID=1833

Date and time of symposia: September 27 and 28, 2018.

Title of symposia:

  1. Management of Parthenium hysterophorus and other invasive weeds with emphasis on biological control – (Organized by the IPM Innovation Lab)
  2. Management of Tuta absoluta and other invasive arthropods with special emphasis on biological control- (Organized by IAPPS and the IPM Innovation Lab)

Length of presentations: 15 minutes each with 5 minutes for discussion.

 

 

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Invasive plants change ecosystems from the bottom up

Researcher says Phragmites ‘farm’ their own soil communities

Date:
September 5, 2017
Source:
University of Rhode Island
Summary:
Even when two different Phragmite lineages are grown side-by-side in the same ecosystem, the bacterial communities in the soil differ dramatically. This is a discovery that will aid in understanding how plant invasions get started and the conditions necessary for their success.
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In a common garden at the University of Rhode Island, Laura Meyerson has been growing specimens of Phragmites — also known as the common reed — that she has collected from around the world. And while they are all the same species, each plant lineage exhibits unique traits.

Now Meyerson, a professor of natural resources sciences, and Northeastern University Professor Jennifer Bowen have revealed that even when two different lineages grow side-by-side in the same ecosystem, the bacterial communities in the soil differ dramatically. It’s a discovery that will aid in understanding how plant invasions succeed and the conditions necessary for their success.

“It’s almost like the different lineages are farming their own microbial communities,” said Meyerson. “What’s amazing is that an invasive Phragmites population in Rhode Island and California will have microbial communities more similar than a native and invasive population living right next to each other in Rhode Island.”

The Phragmites lineage native to North America has inhabited local wetlands for thousands of years, but a lineage introduced from Europe has begun to take over many North American marshes.

“I’m interested in bacteria within salt marshes, but I’ve never thought about these particular plant-microbe interactions and how microbes in the soil work to both facilitate plant success and inhibit growth,” said Bowen. “But it turns out that the evolutionary signatures of the different plant lineages are so strong that it results in similar microbial communities in related plants that are found across the country. And that’s incredible.”

In a research paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications, Meyerson and Bowen outline their field surveys and controlled experiments on native, invasive and Gulf of Mexico lineages of Phragmites. Both methods found that the bacterial communities in the soil are primarily structured by plant lineage rather than by environmental factors, as was previously thought.

“These findings go against the general dogma that says that the environment determines the microbial community you’re going to get,” Meyerson said. “Two populations growing close to each other should have microbial communities more similar than those living farther apart. But our results say that’s not true. In this case for these plants, it’s the plant lineage — below even the species level — that determines the microbial community.”These results are important for understanding more about the success and fitness of invasive species.

“Microbes are really important in terms of determining what happens in a plant community,” explained Meyerson. “By selecting for particular microbial communities, they’re engineering their ecosystem from the bottom up. What happens at the microbial level affects the fitness and chemistry of the plants, and that affects plant interactions.”

The researchers noticed that the microbes associated with the native Phragmites had more kinds of bacteria that are used to defend the plant from enemy attackers than the microbes associated with the invasive variety, which left most of its enemies behind in its native environment.

“The invasive plants didn’t need to cultivate these defense mechanisms among their microbial communities,” Bowen said. “What our research shows is that these plants are successful as invaders, in part, because they are freed from the need to cultivate a microbial defense shield.”

Meyerson said her results provide a new perspective for those managing land and trying to control invasive plants.

“It’s another reason to be cautious about invasive species,” she said. “We have to look beyond what’s going on above ground. We also have to look below at the microbial communities and how they affect ecosystems from the bottom up.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Rhode Island. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer L. Bowen, Patrick J. Kearns, Jarrett E. K. Byrnes, Sara Wigginton, Warwick J. Allen, Michael Greenwood, Khang Tran, Jennifer Yu, James T. Cronin, Laura A. Meyerson. Lineage overwhelms environmental conditions in determining rhizosphere bacterial community structure in a cosmopolitan invasive plant. Nature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00626-0

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