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Weed Control

3 Things You’ll Lose If You Don’t Manage Your Weeds NOW!

By K-Line Ag
Published on

This year has been crippling. The drought has stressed farmers, crops, animals, feed supplies, rural communities and the entire agriculture industry in Australia. It’s been called the “worst drought in living memory[1]” by more than one media outlet, and there’s been little to disprove the idea. While farmers are dealing with the implications of the drought itself, they need to determine what these implications may be for their operations going forward. It’s important not to lose sight of the long-term impacts of this drought on your paddocks.

Weed Management in Drought

In addition to numerous aspects of agriculture stressed by drought, soil stress is a less noticeable but incredibly important issue. It’s also one farmers will do well to address as quickly and conscientiously as they do the other parts of their operation. This is because stressed soils are more susceptible to environmental damage and weed overgrowth. Neglecting these soils can lead to losses in three pivotal and long-lasting areas of crop production and weed management during drought: nitrogen, moisture and money.


After a drought, the nitrogen content of soil can vary wildly, even within the paddock. Because of the variable moisture from the drought year, the uptake ability of crops can leave pockets of richer soil. At the same time, lack of downward water movement means any previously-applied additives can accumulate residually in the soil at higher levels than normal[2]. Conversely, areas with high weed growth during the drought can create nitrogen deficiencies along with high levels of weed seed banking within the soil.

Managing these variances can be tricky. A good rule of thumb when replanting or planning additives for soils following a drought is to thoroughly soil test throughout the paddock, as pockets of residual chemicals can exist. These pockets develop as a residual of the previous years’ crop and weed growth. A larger sampling of soils can help identify the areas with higher nitrogen concentrations or weed-depleted deficiencies. Minimising application in high concentration areas can help alleviate over-application, run off, and other issues, while heavier application in depleted areas can help rebalance the overall growing ability of the paddock.


Water is Australia’s most precious resource – don’t waste it on weeds! Root zone soil moisture is deficient across the majority of Australia[3]. Deep-rooted vegetation, like trees, can access subsurface moisture down to about 6 meters. Crops don’t have that luxury, so doing everything possible to protect and maintain moisture at shallower levels will be imperative. Without accessible moisture reserves, crops are one ill-timed rainfall away from desiccation. Because of this, managing weed competition within the paddock is critical.

In addition to root zone inaccessibility, lack of moisture also impacts the action of some types of herbicides. Dry conditions can cause plants to build wax layers as a defense mechanism, making them less susceptible to herbicides. In this case, forgoing herbicide application or supplementing it with mechanical forms of weed control, like tillage, is an option. This helps manage weed seedbanks and keeps them from competing with crops for already scarce moisture resources.



Adequate management of these first steps makes a big difference in how much the third step – money – impacts your operation. Farmers are always looking for ways to cut operational costs, and especially during times of drought. Understanding the interplay between nitrogen, soil moisture, mechanical interventions, and cash outlay can help producers redeploy their financial resources, rather than looking for ways to cut them completely. With the steps listed above, producers can minimise the need to purchase chemical additives, instead relying on tillage equipment to manage weeds until your soil moisture levels return to a more normal state.

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Best Practices for Managing Herbicide-Resistant Weeds

By K-Line Ag
Published on

Tillage season is just around the corner, and already producers are turning their thoughts to weeds. Australian broadacre crop paddocks are increasingly encountering greater and greater numbers of herbicide-resistant weeds, leading farmers to explore a variety of methods for mitigating and minimising weed occurrences.

Australian producers are not alone in their concern in the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds. An article in the Weed Science[1] academic journal featuring contributors from Australia and the United States outlined a set of twelve weed management best practices for containing and controlling weeds while simultaneously managing their opportunity for building herbicide resistance.

12 Weed Management Best Practices:

  • 1

    Understand the biology of weeds present in the field location
  • 2

    Use a diversified approach toward weed management, focusing on preventing weed seed production and reducing weed seeds in the soil’s seed bank

  • 3

    Plant to weed-free fields, keeping fields as weed-free as possible

  • 4

    Plant weed-free seed

  • 5

    Scout fields routinely
  • 6

    Use multiple herbicide mechanisms of action (MOAs) that are effective against the most troublesome weeds present, or those most prone to herbicide resistance
  • 7

    Apply herbicide at label-recommended rate and appropriate weed size
  • 8

    Emphasize cultural practices that suppress weeds by using crop competitiveness
  • 9

    Use mechanical and biological management practices when and where appropriate
  • 10

    Prevent field-to-field and intra-field transfer of weed seeds or vegetative propagules
  • 11

    Manage weed seed at harvest and post-harvest to minimise a build-up of the weed seed bank
  • 12

    Manage paddock boundaries to prevent an influx of weeds

Many Australian producers utilise some of these practices, but as the pressure from herbicide-resistant weeds grows, integrating more of them into their farm’s standard practices could make the difference when finding the balance between long-term control of weeds and combating herbicide-resistance.

Understanding mechanisms of action and utilising a variety of non-herbicide mechanical and biological practices were emphasized in the study. Pre-emergent herbicides are popular for broadacre applications because they impede germination of weed seeds that already exist in the seed bed by inhibiting the generation of growth enzymes. But they’re not appropriate for every weed type, thus the need for identifying the weeds present in the paddock at the middle to end of the previous growing season and choosing the mechanism of action that works best for those weeds present.

Similarly, mechanical means of lifecycle disruption, like employing strategic tillage with specialized tillage equipment at key points in the weed’s growth and development, can prevent the propagation and expansion of weeds. But like many of the best practices listed by the Weed Science study, it functions best when implemented in concert with things like regular scouting of fields and hygiene processes for inter-field equipment transfers. Implements like the Speedtiller®, which are designed for weed control and ease of use in field hygiene actions, can be a good long-term tillage equipment investment, interrupting weed propagation cycles and promoting weed-free seed beds in your paddocks.

As the agriculturists and biologists in the Weed Science study pointed out, none of these actions are completely effective on their own. For long-term effectiveness, producers will have to develop operation-wide processes and strategies for managing their weed challenges.


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Chemical & Tillage: Waging a War for Weed Control

By K-Line Ag
Published on

4 Ways to Win the War on Weeds

Farmers are at war. They’re up against an enemy that’s increasingly sophisticated, highly adaptable, and capable of responding rapidly to the weapons deployed against them. It’s a war for moisture, for yields, and for revenues. It’s a war against chemically-resistant weeds, and it’s one farmers must use all their knowledge and resources to fight.

Don’t Limit Your Arsenal

You would never walk into a fight without the tools needed to win. The same concept applies to weed control. The decision to wage war against herbicide-resistant weeds doesn’t have to be an either/or chemical or tillage fight. It can be a chemical AND tillage fight. Farmers don’t have to pick one method, and a diversified strategy that utilises both can be extremely successful. They can work together, complementing each other, and bolstering each other’s weaknesses to make the overall fight more effective[1].

For instance, deploying chemicals against broadleaf-type weeds in autumn while combating grass-type weeds with tillage in spring is a great example of strategic, dual-method controls. Since broadleaf and grasses have different germination times and physiological structures, those methods can be more effective when deployed in tandem[2].

Know Your Opponent

Weed types, emergence patterns, germination timing, germination depth, preferred germination temperature, seed banking, seed sizing, physical characteristics… The more you know about your opponent, the more effective you can be at deploying the right tools at the right time to get the most positive weed control outcome possible. Once you’ve taken stock of the types of weeds and their biological profiles, you can work out a 1-2 punch strategy for deploying chemical and mechanical ways of disrupting them at the most damaging times.

Hit Hard

When you’re coming into a fight, sometimes it’s right to start with a full-on assault. Weed control is one of those cases. One of the key points in battling weed control is to make sure you’re utilising herbicides at full strength. Under-application is a main contributing factor in herbicide resistance, because weak applications damage weeds without killing them. This then builds “immunity” within the genetics of the damaged plant and passes those traits onto any seeds it produces.

Similarly, tillage needs to be aggressive enough and disruptive enough to not just damage root systems, but truly remove them from the soil. Simple vertical tillage is sometimes not effective enough to kill weeds. Instead it’s knife-type blade pathway injures the plant and its root system without killing them completely. You can read more on the differences between vertical tillage and compact discs on our USA blog.

Don’t Dig Deep, Dig Smart

Farmers struggle with implementing tillage-based weed control in no-till systems, but the no-till approach brings challenges, including an almost single-method reliance on chemical weed control. But a return to deep, heavily disruptive and erosive tillage practices with one-way or moldboard ploughs isn’t the answer either. Instead, studies by the Grains Resource Development Corporation[3] suggest newer tillage options like compact discs, for finding the sweet spot between achieving weed control and retaining the benefits of a no-till system.

Dual purpose tillers like the Speedtiller® strike the balance between disruption and soil preservation while still effectively attacking the weed issue. They can still kill off weed seeds, especially finer seeds like grasses, but also help retain soil-building, erosion-controlling soil residues, leaving soil profiles stronger than with traditional tillage methods and machines.


Attacking weeds with a full array of methods and with a complete understanding of how they work against the weeds in your paddocks is imperative to winning the war against weeds. As weeds adapt to our existing groups of herbicides, exploring disruptive mechanical methods like tillage can give farmers the advantage they need to fight and defeat the weeds!

View it in Action: K-Line Ag Speedtiller® Warring Against Weeds!

  • Retain your moisture and kill your summer weeds. The fastest way to manage your summer weed growth!
  • 9.5m Speedtiller Powerflex cleaning up Chemical Resistant Weeds in the Bribbaree District
  • Summer Rains and Chemical Resistant Weeds – Get prepared with the K-Line Ag Speedtiller®!

Read More on our Series: War on Chemical Resistance


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Early Season Ryegrass Management

By K-Line Ag
Published on

Every producer has harvest dreams of golden fields of ripened wheat swaying gently in the breeze. What no one wants to see are those golden fields marred by the tall, spindly seed heads of ryegrass peeking over the top of the wheat crop.

Combatting ryegrass infestations is serious business throughout Australia. The GRDC estimates herbicide-resistant ryegrasses and other weeds cause losses for producers of between AU$2.5-4.5 billion per annum. The International Herbicide-Resistant Weed Database ranks ryegrass (lolium rigidum) as the most resistant species based upon number of sites of action. With tough weeds like ryegrass, employing multiple modes of action (both cultural and mechanical, as well as chemical) across different parts of the plant’s germination, growth and propagation cycles is fundamental.

Draw Down The Seed Bank

One obvious cultural mode of action is seed and paddock hygiene – effectively stopping seeds before they start. A single ryegrass stand of less than 100 plants per square metre can produce over 45,000 seeds under ideal conditions. By not introducing new seeds (either from contaminated seed or equipment moved from paddock to paddock without cleaning), producers can give other modes of action more time to work, and against fewer plants.

Time The Tillage

The term “strategic tillage” gets bandied about quite frequently in a number of contexts, but when using tillage as a mechanical means to control ryegrass in pre-emergence, the strategy of the tillage – the timing in regards to weather and the ryegrass seed’s germination cycle, the proximity to sowing, the coordination with pre-emergent herbicide applications – is necessary to ensure its effectiveness. Using a K-Line Speedtiller to disrupt the plant’s growing cycle produces long-lasting effects on its ability to compete with the crops in the paddock.

A particularly troublesome characteristic of ryegrass seed is its ability to germinate at a wide range of depths. In university studies, ryegrass has germinated at depths as shallow as 5mm. It prefers germination depths of around 20mm but can germinate at depths 5x that deep. Ryegrass tends to lose germination viability at depths over 100mm, which means an early season deep tillage session followed by the application of a pre-emergent herbicide (sometimes called a “double knock”) can drastically reduce the number of viable seeds for germination in the impending growing season.

Teaming this approach with a fast-follow sowing pass with adequate seed density produces both a setback to ryegrass’ ability to germinate and an unfriendly, competitive growing environment that gives advantage to wheat and other cereal crops. The combination of modes of action both reduces the number of viable plants within the growing season, but also literally buries the seed bank, leaving fewer seeds to germinate in a much unfriendlier seed bed.

As with all things herbicide-resistance-related, producers must continue to be vigilant and play the long game. Ryegrass herbicide-resistance has skyrocketed in the forty years since the first resistant plants were found in WA and SA in 1982. It will take at least that many growing seasons to get the plants back under control, trialling solutions and determining the methodologies best suited to addressing the problem.

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From the Trenches: Combatting Ryegrass in the War on Chemical Resistant Weeds

By K-Line Ag
Published on

What’s more certain than finding saltwater in the ocean? Apparently, finding ryegrass in your paddocks! In our survey of Australian farmers conducted by K-Line Ag throughout July and August this year, ryegrass presence and herbicide resistance were a recurring theme. Nearly every respondent that addressed the survey’s weed herbicide resistance questions mentioned ryegrass in their response. This was a strong indication of the prevalence of the problem, and the difficulty of finding a suitable answer to address it.

3 Ways to Control Ryegrass and Weeds

1. Think Site of Action to Combat Herbicide Resistance

Australia’s not alone in the battle against chemical-resistant weeds. Most countries with industrialised agriculture struggle with local variations of the same problem. However, according to the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Australia ranks an inauspicious second in the world for its number of herbicide resistant weeds[1].

Like so many other common weeds in Australia (fleabane, wild radish, milkthistle, windmill grass, liverseed grass, and barnyard grass are some of the most often-reported throughout the country), ryegrass earned its noxious reputation by foiling some of the most popular herbicides on the market. While resistance site of action varies by region, some sort of ryegrass with herbicide resistance exists in every Australian state. The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds keeps a comprehensive assessment of all resistance types by state, including what site of action/class of herbicide resistance is found in each location[2]. Knowing what types of resistance are prevalent in your area and adjusting your strategy around those resistances can help increase your chances of success.

2. When Possible, Fight Pre-Emergence

Getting ahead of weeds’ emergence from the soil has historically been one way to combat their chemical resistance[3]. By attacking the plant at its most vulnerable growing point – germination, when the plant uses the limited energy resources of its encapsulated endosperm to push new growth out from the seed coat – pre-emergent herbicides sabotage the plant’s ability to access the enzymes they need to fuel their first-stage growth. When effective, pre-emergent herbicides block plants from ever recovering that expelled energy through photosynthesis as they normally would, which finally desiccates them.

However, the efficacy of pre-emergent herbicide application is waning. Pre-emergent herbicide resistance is also a growing problem in all Australian states, according to a 2018 news release by GRDC[4]. Surveys conducted this year showed multiple resistances, including to combinations of herbicides from the D, J and K Groups. Managing ryegrass is therefore becoming increasingly dependent on non-chemical means. This includes strategic tillage with implements like the K-Line Ag Speedtiller®, or with the implementation of a diversified weed control programme.

3. Try Tickling

One of the most popular methods for tillage-based mechanical weed control is shallow cultivation, or autumn tickling[5]. Autumn tickle is a shallow-depth tillage that pushes the weed seedbank to germinate earlier. This ultimately depletes an area’s weed seed reserves, by allowing knockdown herbicides or other mechanisms to control them. The Speedtiller® is uniquely well-suited to this weed control method, because it features a dual-mode operating system that controls weight, pressure, and operating depth with a series of lever- or hydraulic-action adjustable components.

Even with a fully adjustable tillage implement like the Speedtiller®, not all weed types or situations respond well to autumn tickling. Only those weeds who are easily disturbed from dormancy, like ryegrass, are good targets for this approach. Similarly, not all soil types respond well to autumn tickling either. Sandy and non-wetting soils are not good candidates for this type of weed control.

The ryegrass resistance issue isn’t a simple fix, and it’s not an issue that is going away. Effectively combatting ryegrass in the future will require the development and implementation of an integrated weed control strategy. These strategies will work best if they minimise the use of herbicides. Instead, use a combination of chemical and mechanical methods to control, disrupt and eliminate weeds and their seeds.


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Strategic Tillage: A 1-in-5 Year Consideration for No-Till Farmers

By K-Line Ag
Published on

Ask 1000 farmers a question about how to raise their crops, and you’ll probably get 1000 different answers. For some, “the way it’s always been done” is the answer; for others, it’s the latest study or newest method. For most, the answer lies somewhere in between.

While opinions vary on a number of ag-related topics, one common topic of discussion is tillage frequency and its implications for soil health. No-till systems have been steadily gaining ground across the world since the 1950s, shortly after Edward Faulkner’s “Plowman’s Folly” raised awareness of the harm of deep mouldboard ploughing on American prairie soils. Faulkner’s tenets have spread over the intervening years, but additional research, university studies, and machine innovations have tempered some of his original observations.

But no-till isn’t always the most beneficial, particularly in harder soil types or those that pack tightly, like clays and clay mixes. These soils can develop hard pans at the 100mm to 150mm range, creating a host of problems[1]. The pans keep water from penetrating more deeply into the soil, where it can nourish developing root systems and be locked away for future use during dry periods. Pooling water on the top few inches of soil causes other problems as well, like acidification of soils from accumulated fertilizers and additives. Some of these additives, like lime, have limited wicking penetration abilities, and without tillage, can only penetrate 15-20mm/year their own and must be constantly re-applied to provide benefit to the crop.

To address these issues while causing the least possible disturbance to soils, farmers have turned to minimally-invasive deep ripping with specialty tools like the K-Line MaxxRipper®, strategically planning their tillage every 4 or 5 years in an otherwise no-till system. Deep rippers provide 200mm + deep soil disruption without sacrificing the residues and humus richness a minimal-till or no-till approach develops[2].

Benefits of deep ripping include:

  • Compaction Busting

    By breaking up sub-soil compaction, deep ripping allows root structures to penetrate more deeply into the soil, particularly the tap roots on crops like canola and lucerne. The deeper the tap roots go, the more likely the event that they will reach sub-surface repositories of moisture. Deeper root systems also provide pathways into the soil for rains to follow, increasing the depth at which rains penetrate, and increasing the overall moisture retention capacity of the soil.
  • Nutrient Retention

    In no-till systems, one of the main complaints is nitrogen loss due to volatilisation. Nitrogen is extremely volatile when exposed to oxygen, and will vaporise into the air quickly, loosing efficacy, if left at the surface. Top-dressed fertilisers or broadcasted manures must be worked into the ground to realise their full benefit, and a single pass with a deep ripper can introduce N to the subsoil layers, locking in the nutrient and making it available for future crops.
  • Residue Decomposition

    Residues are another potential nutrient source that are more beneficial when worked in. Working residues into the soil increases the rate at which they mineralise (decompose) and humuficate (reach mature humus state). The faster residues complete these steps, the sooner they’re available to plant roots as a nutrient source.
  • Residue Anchoring

    Tillage “anchors” the residue in the soil, rather than allowing it to blanket the top of the soil’s surface. Anchoring puts the physical and organic benefits of the residues (moisture retention, erosion control, nutrient availability, etc.) directly into the soil, not simple on top of it.
  • Rut Levelling

    Applying strategic tillage to no-till paddocks is also an effective way to combat other types of soil compaction, like ridging and rutting. A turn across a paddock with a deep tillage machine breaks up all sub-surface ridges and breaks apart ruts left by tractors and implements or created after heavy drought-rain cycles which Australia often experiences.

There are some additional short-term considerations when contemplating a strategic deep ripping till of a no-till system, particularly in regards to weather forecasting and rain expectations. However, managing these considerations are a small thing compared to the potential benefits a deep ripper can provide with your no-till subsoils.


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Till to Kill: The Fight against Herbicide Resistant Weeds

By K-Line Ag
Published on

The use of herbicidal chemical applications in modern commercial agriculture has presented a growing world population with the food needed to meet it’s increased demand. However, the rise in the use of chemicals to combat weeds has also led to parallel increases in herbicide resistant weeds, and the need for alternative and mechanical methods of weed control.

The use of herbicidal chemical applications in modern commercial agriculture has presented a growing world population with the food needed to meet it’s increased demand. However, the rise in the use of chemicals to combat weeds has also led to parallel increases in herbicide resistant weeds, and the need for alternative and mechanical methods of weed control.

How do Herbicide Resistant Weeds Come About?

Chemical resistance results from the molecular structure of the weed’s cells changing, or mutating, as it is repeatedly exposed to low levels of chemical. These low level exposures aren’t enough to kill the plant, but they may stunt it or reduce it’s ability to produce seeds, flowers, or leaves. When this happens, the seeds it does manage to produce carry forward the mutated molecular structure, passing the resistant traits on to new generations. Within a few generations, these mutations have strengthened, making the mutant plants chemical-resistant, even at strong application levels.

Know Your Enemy

Names and types of herbicide resistant weeds vary depending on your country, continent or hemisphere, but the issues remain the same. Chemical resistance has found its way into common Australian weeds like flaxleaf fleabane, ryegrass, awnless barnyard grass, windmill grass, liverseed grass, and common sowthistle to name a few of the more well-known and ubiquitous offenders. In comparison, the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, which tracks chemically resistant weed mutations on a global scale, notes 247 species of chemically resistant plants in 66 countries.

Chemically resistant weed species prevalence and success in propagation also tends to vary based on tillage types and farming practices. Decades-long university studies in the US, Brazil and Argentina have found wind-blown seeds and annual grass seeds to be more prevalent in conservation tillage or no-till systems, annual broadleaf varieties to be more common in ridge tillage or disc tillage systems, and perennials as the predominant varieties when traditional ploughing systems were in effect. Much of this stratification of propagation has to do with the biological reserves or hardiness of the seeds themselves, which can be helpful when assessing options for combating their impacts.

Identifying the types of herbicide resistant weeds encountered in your operations is important to devising a control strategy. By knowing your weed, yo can understand its physical attributes, growing and seed production cycles, and the best methods for capitalising on its phenotypical expressions and reproduction times to interrupt these schedules with mechanical controls.

Tilling in Pre-Emergence

Pre-emergence tillage options can destroy weeds in the seed and germination stages, exposing them to surface environments and stopping or stunting their growth patterns. This delay can help give production crops the break they need to germinate (before the disrupted weed seeds) and mature into primary growth stages (like tillering or cotyledon stages), without intense competition from germinated weeds. Once production crops begin tillering or extending leaf shoots post-emergence, they’ve already developed sturdy root systems and can then better compete with stunted weeds for nutrients and moisture. Additionally, established production crop canopies can divert sunlight, nutrients and rainfall away from encroaching weeds, which further hinders their development and improves the crop’s competitive ability throughout the growing season.

Depending on the type of weed, shallow tillage surface exposure and deep tillage seed burial can have similar results on pre-emergent weed seed banks. Shallow tillage brings seeds to the top of the soil profile, where they have increased carryover mortality rates, and are more likely to be eaten by rodents or birds. Studies in the US show predation removal of seeds can account for a third or more of the total seed bank for the soil. This result is improved when paddocks are planted to cover crops that provide habitat and concealment for seed predators.

Shallow tillage brings seeds to the top of the soil profile, where they have increased carryover mortality rates, and are more likely to be eaten by rodents or birds

Deep tillage is another option for combating pre-emergent weed seeds. Tillage that puts seeds below the 0-5cm germination zone preferred by most varieties can cut germination by up to 80%. But, depending on their biological hardiness and energy reserves, seeds pushed deeper into the soil can higher levels of seed persistence, and remain viable for years after the tillage is completed.

The Role of Tilling in Post-Emergence Weeds

For post-emergent herbicide resistant weeds, aggressive, deep tillage is usually the best option for controlling the weed and ensuring more complete destruction and exposure of the plant and roots. By destroying the plant in its entirety and burying the seeds, you can simultaneously combat post-emergent plants while addressing the propagation of future generations in the seed bank. For small, shallow-seeding weeds, a single pass of deep tillage can eliminate the majority of the seed bank for years.

Post-emergence heavy tillage is particularly successful in conjunction with crop roatation and herbicide diversification. When the tillage is complete, crops are rotated, and chemical applications or sites of action change. This provides a jolt that disrupts germination cycles and gives the seed bank time to deplete naturally through predation and standard seed mortality.

The decision to till post-emergence can be difficult. Deep tillage may be thought to undo years of conservation tillage benefits, including erosion control, moisture retention and soil profile improvements through stubble integration. But as weeds become more immune to chemical interventions, it is an option more and more farmers are evaluating, particularly on an intermittent or as-needed basis, or as part of a larger crop rotation and strategic tillage plan, to avoid the escalation of herbicide resistant weeds.

Read More: Research Reveals that Never Cultivating can be a Danger

Chemical resistance is an outcome of increased chemical usage in modern farming, but it doesn’t have to have an adverse effect on your operation. By understanding the weeds you’re facing, exploiting their weaknesses, and making strategic decisions about management and tillage, you can effectively combat even the toughest weeds without impeding your production crop operation.

Chemical resistance is an outcome of increased chemical usage in modern farming, but it doesn’t have to have an adverse effect on your operation

Read More on our Series: War on Chemical Resistance

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Weeding Out Summer Wastage

By K-Line Ag
Published on

Every year, summer weeds suck precious nutrients and moisture from the soil, wasting crops and denting profits. And this year is no different. In fact, with this higher summer rainfall, the conditions are rife for weed invasions. Which leaves Australian farmers facing two big questions:

1. What’S The Most Effective Way To Prevent Wastage From Weeds This Summer?

There’s no single easy answer. Pesticide alone won’t cut it. In one summer weed control demonstration by Liebe Group, weed counts taken before and after pesticide treatments with Garlon and Ally showed no significant drop. But the study confirmed that the quicker kill by Garlon helped retain soil moisture, and increase the wheat yield — so we do know that speed counts

This finding was reinforced in a further study conducted by BCG, where spraying with Ally and Atrazine was ineffective at complete weed removal. All of which points to a combination of tillage and pesticides as an effective dual method of summer weed control. By attacking the enemy quickly, and on two fronts, crops can be saved by preserving vital soil moisture.

2. Or Am I Really Just Wasting My Money?

The evidence gives us a clear and resounding ‘no’. Results from 21 CSIRO trials show that summer weed control delivers an average 60% increase in seasonal water usage efficiency, and an average $5.57 return for every dollar invested.

And as for keeping summer weeds around as fallow feed for livestock, one of the trials confirmed that controlling summer weeds rather than leaving them for feed increased the average farm income by at least $74/ha. Yet more proof that the faster you deal with weeds the better.

The SpeedTiller by K-Line Ag® is a high-performing, heavy duty adjustable speed disc for fast and effective weed control. It’s also good for soil conditioning with superior water penetration and it can incorporate high levels of crop residue, increasing your soil’s carbon content.

With machine sizes up to 15.5m and Australian made, the Speedtiller®’s advanced design puts it in a class of its own. And puts the arguments about summer weeds to rest.


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Winning the War on Chemical Resistant Weeds

By K-Line Ag
Published on

Fleabane. Marestail. Giant Ragweed. Waterhemp. Ryegrass. Beggartick. Pigweed.

No matter where you live – state or province, country or continent, Eastern or Western hemisphere – chances are if you are a farmer, you saw a name on the list above that made you cringe. And unfortunately, you are not alone.

According to the International Survey of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds, a scientific think tank committed to identifying, cataloguing, and controlling herbicide-resistant weeds around the world, the problem is large, and continuing to grow (pun intended!). There are currently 234 species of resistant weeds in 65 countries around the world, and more are added every growing season.

How does a weed become resistant to chemicals? The answer varies with each weed type and each associated herbicide. The basic answer is that as chemicals are repeatedly applied to certain weeds, those weeds’ molecular structure changes, or mutates. These mutations mean that while the plant could still be affected by the chemical (think stunted growth or less flower, seed, or leaf production, etc.), it doesn’t die or stop producing offspring as intended by the herbicide application. Thus, the plant has the ability to pass that modified DNA structure on to subsequent generations of weeds, and the basis for chemical resistance is born.

Chemically tolerant or resistant weeds are most common in areas or countries where agriculture is industrialized. The prevalence of chemicals in modern farming practices means there are exponentially more opportunities for altered DNA replication to happen in industrialized nations, leading to an increased number of weeds showing resistant characteristics in those areas.

There are a number of approaches to avoiding or controlling the spread of chemically-resistant weeds. While the options may not be for everyone, knowing even the most basic methods for combating herbicide resistance can help slow down the problem.

Go organic

This is definitely not an option for everyone, but not using chemicals for weed control is one way to diminish resistant tendencies. Organic farmers have to use cultural, situational, and mechanical controls to fight their weed infestations. Cultural controls include things like making growing conditions unfavourable by using additives to change soil pH. Situational controls extend to things like crop rotations and companion planting. Mechanical controls encompass all types of tillage when used in weed control situations.

Optimise soil nutrient contents

Knowing your land’s soil types and that soil’s nutrient composition can go a long way toward promoting crop growth and combating weed infestation. Test your soils for deficiencies, and add nutrients customized for your planned crop. A balanced soil nutrient profile can help push crops through growth stages (germination, emergence, canopy) as fast as possible. This jumpstart makes them bigger faster, which makes it easier for them to fend off and stunt the growth of competitive weeds.

Rotate crops

Growing the same crops in the same places every year produces year-upon-year tolerance to chemicals in many types of weeds. Break up this cycle by changing the base crop, herbicide applications, and timing for each paddock. Get assistance from a local soil conservationist or government agriculture office to balance crop herbicide and nutrient needs within your farming operation.

Hit the Dirt

Zero in on problem patches and target areas of weed density by physically inspecting your paddocks. By getting at eye level with your crops and their weedy competitors, you can identify and customize applications for your paddocks’ specific problem weed types instead of constantly relying on broadcast herbicides.

Go Big, or Don’t Go

Don’t use less herbicide or a lighter concentration than what is specified by the manufacturer on the mixing label. Under-mixing herbicides actually helps to promote chemical resistance. Weakly mixed or lightly applied chemicals function in weeds like vaccinations do in people: small doses eventually build up immunity.

Select the proper seed hybrids

All seed hybrids are not created equal. Talk with your local agronomist or seed dealer to select hybrids genetically designed to be grown in your area. Localized hybrids often have traits that encourage early germination and allow them to withstand colder soil temperatures than competitive weed seeds. These hybrids can be planted earlier than most wild weed seeds can germinate, spurring crop growth while inhospitable conditions retard the growth of competitive weeds.

Insist on implement hygiene

Ever wonder why weeds seem to be more prevalent in the outside rows of a paddock, but less common further in? In many cases, it’s a matter of implement hygiene. When equipment moves from farm to farm or paddock to paddock, weeds and their seeds get transferred along with the implements. This weedy trash generally falls off the machine in the first rounds, as evidenced by the weed propagation in most paddocks. As a weed control best practice, require cleaning of implements before entering paddocks, especially if employing custom operators, and for all equipment after each growing season.

Plant for Production

Maintaining and calibrating planting equipment per manufacturer recommendations can pay back greatly when it comes to weed control. How, you might ask? Malfunctioning planter and diagnostic parts like vacuum tubes, seed plates, and monitors can give false information about seeding and fertilizer application rates. This can leave empty spots or slow growth areas in your paddocks, leaving the door open for opportunistic weeds to take over.

Make Another Pass at Weed Control

Tillage is a great way to control weeds without using additional chemicals. Paired with the other methods and tips above, passes through post-emergent crops with tillage equipment can provide soil disruption to expose or uproot weeds between rows. This in turn contributes to dehydration or growth delays in those weeds, allowing time for crops to overcome and eventually kill their competitors. Tillage also can have the additional benefit of killing non-plant undesirables, like fungi and pests, in many paddocks.

While the war on chemical-resistant weeds is far from over, farmers have a number of control methods at their disposal. Alone, these methods may not win the war, but together they make a suitable arsenal for helping farmers win key battles against chemical-resistant weeds the world over.

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Yield Boost: Combatting Weeds & Improving Soils in a Single Pass with the K-Line Ag Speedtiller

By K-Line Ag
Published on

Crop producers’ focus is always yield. Better varieties for better yield. Better nutrient management for better yield. Better soil management for better yield. Better weed control for better yield… you get the picture. Managing these variables is a full-time job for farmers, and there is never enough time to do everything possible to improve yields.

Having an implement that can provide both better soil management and better weed control is a definite value-add for farmers, and that is exactly what the K-Line Ag Speedtiller®

K-Line Ag’s Speedtiller® was designed and built in Australia to combat the unique conditions of Australian soils and to address the needs of the Australian farmer. However, this farmer-centric design mentality has translated very well overseas too, and the company now produces implements for the US, Canadian and European markets.

Incorporating Residues for Higher Yields

The success of the Speedtiller® comes from its ability to improve soil humus levels, reduce erosion, and combat chemical resistant weeds in a single pass utilizing a single implement. Farmers have long understood that chopping plant residues (stems, stalks, roots, etc) left in the paddock post-harvest and then incorporating them into the soil provides important soil benefits. With incorporated residues, the organic matter percentage within the soil profile increases. This brings with it a better environment for beneficial soil microbes, enhanced ability for soils to absorb and retain water, and increased bioavailability of micronutrients from residues as they decompose and re-enter the soil as compost.

The inclusion of residues in the soil also guards against erosion. It creates pathways for surface water to penetrate more deeply into the soil profile, and by acting as a sponge, absorbs water into the residue materials for soil use during drier periods. Because residue-incorporated soils have a more varied surface texture, they resist the effects of surface water and wind erosion. This supports soil component retention and fosters long-term soil health.

The Speedtiller® accomplishes residue incorporation by utilizing a two-part system – first chopping the residues into manageable pieces and shifting the dirt with an offset disc, and then mixing the dirt and residues together into a finished paddock surface, leaving the seedbed ready for planting. This two-step approach provides the residue incorporation farmers need to reap the benefits of better crop health and higher yields.

Save Time, Fuel & Labour!

The Speedtiller’s dual purpose discing and finishing capabilities have added benefits as well. Producers can use this single implement to do the work of two or even three other implements. The savings in soil compaction, operator time, and fuel expenditures make a sizeable impact on production and operational costs.

Combatting Chemical Resistance

The Speedtiller® also plays an important role in weed control for farmers by providing a mechanical means of weed disruption and diminishing the possibility of promoting chemical resistance in their local weed populations. Unlike chemical applications of herbicides, mechanical processes like tillage implements do not mutate the molecular structure of the weeds, which causes chemical-resistance. Instead, mechanical processes disrupt the weeds’ growing cycle. This dehydrates or stunts the weeds, while allowing production crops time to overcome and eventually kill competitive weeds.

The most versatile tillage tool on the market!

Because it’s designed with an appreciation for the variability of Australian soils and cropping types, the Speedtiller® is customisable for applications from vineyard cultivation to oilseed and cereal production. Trailing and 3-point linkage versions are available. Finishing rollers can be selected based on soil type: hollow crumbling rollers for loamier soils and spring rollers for stickier, clay-type soils. These unique configurations allow producers to utilize the correct mechanical design to realize the greatest benefits in residue and soil management for increased yields.

To learn more about the yield-supporting benefits of a Speedtiller® by K-Line Ag, contact the friendly sales team on 1800 194 131 (in Australia), or 1800 445 6882 (in USA).

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