WHILE much of the research funded by SAGIT aims to help growers solve today’s challenges, some projects operate ‘behind the scenes’ to prepare for the future.
One such project is evaluating weed control options in lentils with potential new herbicide tolerant traits, supervised by South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) research officer Dili Mao.
“This work will support some of the exciting new developments from a GRDC project led by Larn McMurray, such as improved metribuzin tolerance traits in lentils,” Ms Mao says.
Herbicide tolerant pulses have provided growers with new options for managing weeds in their rotations, however current lentil varieties have only narrow tolerance to some herbicides such as metribuzin.
Depending on rainfall and soil type, the dose of metribuzin required to kill the weeds can cause crop damage. This can lead to growers experiencing yield loss, or otherwise reducing herbicide rates to protect the crop, which reduces herbicide efficacy and can contribute to the development of herbicide resistance.
“This project is investigating how we could make better use of metribuzin if we had a lentil variety with a wider safety margin, particularly for some of the difficult to control weeds in South Australian lentil growing regions such as bifora, ryegrass and volunteer vetch and medic,” Ms Mao says.
While the project is only in its infancy, Ms Mao says the results look promising, particularly at higher rates for ryegrass control, and could potentially provide an alternative option in the battle against group A resistance.
“Our aim is that by the time any potential new varieties are released, which could still be several years away, we will be able to maximise the benefits of this new technology by doing some of this preliminary work now,” she says.
This project will be conducting its second year of field trials in 2017 and will look at a range of methods, rates and timings to ensure the best strategies can be developed for South Australian growers.