Failure to control annual weed species that persist through cropping phases facilitates replenishment/establishment of weed seedbanks. Consequently, this maintains weed interference in subsequent years of crop production. Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) has been widely adopted in Australia since its inception over three decades ago to prevent redistribution of weed seeds across cropping fields during commercial harvesting operations (Walsh et al. 2017). Implementation of HWSC obstructs fresh seedbank inputs by subjecting the weed seed bearing chaff fraction to a treatment, such as combustion (narrow windrow burning), mechanical pulverisation (impact mills), decomposition (chaff-lining) and removal (chaff cart). Chaff-lining has been readily adopted by growers because of the low cost of modifying a harvester to confine the chaff fraction into a narrow row between stubble, or onto dedicated wheel tracks in controlled traffic farming systems (chaff-tramlining). There is a paucity of literature examining seedbank decline of important Australian weed species in chaff-lines, however a common conjecture is that a mulching effect is created by a combination of physical and chemical influences (Walsh et al. 2018). Field observations suggest that in the absence of seed decay, control failures of annual weed species and volunteer crop plants may be exacerbated. Therefore, growers urgently need information that substantiates the implications of chaff-lining to weed seedbanks.
Investigation of weed seedbank decline in nine chaff-lining systems of South Australia demonstrated that growers are achieving high concentration of weed seeds and crop residue at harvest.
Assessment of the viable weed seed fraction after crop harvest suggests that large residual annual ryegrass, brome grass and Indian hedge mustard seedbanks have been established in cropping field because these species did not decay over the summer-autumn period in chaff-lines.
Evaluation of chaff-tramlining systems showed that annual ryegrass seedbank decline is independent of chaff-line configuration and chaff density.
The stability in the weed seedbanks in chaff-lines were consistent with the dry conditions over the summer-autumn period.
Growers should be cautious of the magnitude of viable weed seeds in chaff-lines before the cropping season and expect variability in the effectiveness of this tactic between seasons.
Lead research organisation
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine - The University of Adelaide
Host research organisation
SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre
Trial funding source
The research undertaken as part of this project is made possible by the significant contributions of the growers through both trial cooperation, Jerel Fromm, Ian Noble and Ed Hunt on EP, and the support of the GRDC in project UA00156. Thank you to Ian Richter, Katrina Brands, Bradley Hutchings and Steve Jeffs (SARDI) for their technical input to the EP samplings.
Trial source data and summary not available Check the trial report PDF for trial results.
Derived climate information
No observed climate data available for this trial. Derived climate data is determined from trial site location and national weather sources.
Site 8, Minnipa SA
SILO weather estimates sourced from https://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/silo/
Jeffrey, S.J., Carter, J.O., Moodie, K.B. and Beswick, A.R. (2001). Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data , Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol 16/4, pp 309-330. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-8152(01)00008-1.
Trial report and links
2019 trial report
GRDC Final Report
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Pasture Mixed speciesSouthern
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Trial last modified: 15-06-2020 13:59pm AEST
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