A farmer survey of weed management and herbicide resistance problems of winter crops in Australia

Y. Alemseged, R.E. Jones and R.W. Medd, Cooperative Research Centre for Weed Management Systems, NSW Agriculture, Orange Agricultural Institute, Forest Road, Orange, New South Wales 2800, Australia.


Although weeds are believed to impose substantial economic costs to Australian agriculture, there have been few attempts to objectively quantify the impact of weeds; certainly none at a national level. A project was established to determine the costs of weeds in the Australian annual winter cropping systems. An important component of that study was to determine the distribution and density of weeds affecting crop production. Reported in this paper are the results from a survey of grain growers in the northern, southern and western Grains Research and Development Corporation regions. Formal self-completion questionnaires were mailed individually to 10 000 grain growers throughout Australia, out of which 1040 useable surveys were returned. Farmers were requested to rank land management problems as they affect their farming enterprises, and to nominate the most difficult weeds to control in winter cropping systems. They were also asked to provide information on the density of the residual weed infestation after spraying and their perceptions on the problem of herbicide resistance. Questions relating to management practices in winter cropping such as weed control and crop rotations were also included.

The results indicated that farmers regard weeds as a major and increasing management problem to winter crop production in Australia. Lolium spp., Avena spp. and Raphanus raphanistrum were found to be the most widespread and abundant weeds nationally, while other weeds showed regional disposition. Furthermore, despite the widespread use of several weed control methods including herbicides, the major weed species were persisting. Herbicide resistance is perceived by farmers in the western region to be a far more significant problem than considered by farmers in the southern and northern regions.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2001) 16 (1) 21-25.