Tackling weeds with minimal environmental harm

26 March 2019

Haydon Wass and son-in-law Adam with Jack Ryan (left) from Western Farm Machinery, Warren.

Haydon Wass was looking for a solution to tackle problem weeds whilst also reducing the chemical load on his cropping property ‘The Plains’, Nyngan NSW.

A Croplands demonstration by Dave Farmer at a spray application workshop led Haydon and his son-in-law Adam to enquire at Western Farm Machinery about the WEED-IT optical spot sprayers. They were immediately impressed with the technology and in January took delivery of a Croplands WEED-IT 7000L with 36 metre boom.

Haydon along with his brother Michael crop 4400 hectares and grow a combination of wheat, canola, barley, chickpeas and lupins. Windmill grass and buttongrass are amongst the worst weed offenders in summer and sometimes require up to five sprays, depending on summer rainfall. Haydon is conscious of the environmental impact of reducing the chemical load and managing herbicide resistance within his cropping operation.

Regardless of whether we are saving money, from an environmental point of view, the less chemical going out, the better.

Haydon Wass

Up to 30 per cent of the property is left fallow each year so strategic weed management also plays an important role in preserving
ground cover.

“We leave between 1000 and 1500 hectares fallow each year, sometimes for up to fifteen months. Maintaining ground cover reduces the risk of losing precious top soil”.

Haydon uses an equivalent application rate of 100 to 120 litres per hectare at average travel speeds of between 13 and 15km per hour, depending on the size and stress of the weeds in the paddock.

Croplands recommends travel speeds of no more than 20km per hour to achieve best kill rates, particularly in grassy weeds where the weed’s surface area may be minimal and the plant can be easily stressed. The beauty of Croplands WEED-IT is the ability to economically use a higher concentration of chemical, a different mode of action or both, which is a major factor in eliminating hard to kill weeds and therefore delaying the onset of herbicide resistance.

Since taking delivery of his WEED-IT Haydon has sprayed over 7000 hectares with chemical usage rates averaging only 20% of a traditional blanket spray. In subsequent passes usage has been as low as 5%. The water saving has been over 550,000 litres which represents a huge saving in time, pumping and transporting.

Across 820 hectares, we used 2000L of water using the WEEDit compared to 82,000L that would have been used in a blanket spray. The tank filling time for 82,000L at 300-500L per minute, plus your time to transport this amount of chemical would have been huge.

Haydon Wass

Haydon has also been impressed by the quality and reliability of the machine which arrived on farm flushed and ready to go. The WEED-IT has been “trouble-free” with “not even a blocked nozzle”.

“WEED-IT has ticked a hell of a lot of boxes for us”

WEED-IT has ticked a hell of a lot of boxes for us

Haydon Wass