Walker, S.R. and Taylor, I.N. and Milne, G. and Osten, V.A. and Hoque, Z. and Farquharson, R.J. (2005) A survey of management and economic impact of weeds in dryland cotton cropping systems of subtropical Australia. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 45 (1). pp. 79-91.
Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA03189
Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/
In dryland cotton cropping systems, the main weeds and effectiveness of management practices were identified, and the economic impact of weeds was estimated using information collected in a postal and a field survey of Southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Forty-eight completed questionnaires were returned, and 32 paddocks were monitored in early and late summer for weed species and density. The main problem weeds were bladder ketmia (Hibiscus trionum), common sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus), barnyard grasses (Echinochloa spp.), liverseed grass (Urochloa panicoides) and black bindweed (Fallopia convolvulus), but the relative importance of these differed with crops, fallows and crop rotations. The weed flora was diverse with 54 genera identified in the field survey. Control of weed growth in rotational crops and fallows depended largely on herbicides, particularly glyphosate in fallow and atrazine in sorghum, although effective control was not consistently achieved. Weed control in dryland cotton involved numerous combinations of selective herbicides, several non-selective herbicides, inter-row cultivation and some manual chipping. Despite this, residual weeds were found at 38-59% of initial densities in about 3-quarters of the survey paddocks. The on-farm financial costs of weeds ranged from $148 to 224/ha.year depending on the rotation, resulting in an estimated annual economic cost of $19.6 million. The approach of managing weed populations across the whole cropping system needs wider adoption to reduce the weed pressure in dryland cotton and the economic impact of weeds in the long term. Strategies that optimise herbicide performance and minimise return of weed seed to the soil are needed. Data from the surveys provide direction for research to improve weed management in this cropping system. The economic framework provides a valuable measure of evaluating likely future returns from technologies or weed management improvements.
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