Fleabane Now a National Challenge

Fleabane now a national challengeAccording to Dr Michael Widderick’s research paper titled Fleabane now a national challenge, it can be observed that Flaxleaf fleabane weed is emerging as a problem across Southern Australia. This is a major weed in dry land crops and is emerging as a major problem across the entire cereal cropping belt in Australia. Basically, minimum tillage and increased use of glyphosate have increased the prevalence of the weed in different parts of Australia. This weed is said to be resistant to herbicides and the other issue is that the weed is highly mobile.Thus, according to the GRDC funded research, it has been seen that the integrated weed management (IWM) is key to reduce the impact of the weed on the crops. Spraying the weed with herbicides while it is still young is another effective approach that can be taken. Alternatively, there is need to control the weed before it sets the seeds. This entails that the growers should strive to tackle the fleabane while it is still young. They should use the cultivators to bury the weed before it matures since it would become resistant with age. There are quite a number of benefits that can be derived from this action. For instance, the growers will not experience the recurrence of the problematic weed and this can also help to improve the yield. Persuasion channels like television can be used to appeal to the growers to follow the steps suggested above. On the other hand, Silverleaf whitefly (SLW) remains a potentially serious pest of coastal soya beans in the northern region. The main problem is that it quickly develops rapid pesticide resistance usually in a single season. It is also adaptive to high temperatures. The SLW cannot be managed by the use of pesticides alone and growers are not advised to use these since they kill the SLW parasites and predators allowing the pest to multiply unchallenged. Integrated pest management (IPM) is essential in order to combat this problem. There is need for the growers to understand the basic tenets of this strategy as well as the measures that characterise it. The IPM strategy entails that the growers should ensure that there are natural predators in the crop that can suppress the pest’s population. The growers should try to maintain a natural balance in the ecosystem where the predators will feed on the SLW and this helps to ensure that the SLW does not multiply in numbers. The benefits that can be achieved by the growers of beans is that their crop will not be destroyed by the pests. Indeed, the growers need to be persuaded through different channels of communication so that they can adopt the suggested strategy to combat the pests. For instance, television and other media specifically meant for farming can be utilized to persuade the growers so that they can change their behaviour towards combating the problem highlighted above. In this case, the message is that it is better to prevent the insects from multiplying instead of taking action after the outbreak of the plague. References Dr Michael Widderick. Fleabane now a national challenge, GRDC Research, Agri-Science Queensland. Dr Melina Miles, Integrated approach critical: Silverleaf whitefly in coastal pulses. GRDC Research.

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