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WeedSmart Week 2023 celebrates a decade of weed innovation

Greg Condon introducing Manangatang grower Brad Plant at last year's Mildura WeedSmart Week.
Photo: WeedSmart

WeedSmart, in collaboration with its platinum partner, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), has announced the 10th WeedSmart Week, which is to be held in Dubbo, August 1-3, 2023.

Held every year, WeedSmart Week brings together local and interstate growers, agronomists, and other industry experts to learn and discuss effective weed control and herbicide resistance management.

Image of Ouyen grower Adam O’Callaghan with agronomist Andrew McMahen.Ouyen grower Adam O’Callaghan with agronomist Andrew McMahen who presented on-farm at WeedSmart Week Mildura. Photo: WeedSmart

The event focuses on the "WeedSmart Big 6" strategies, which are six key tactics to improve weed management: 1) rotate crops and pastures, 2) increase crop competition, 3) mix and rotate herbicides, 4) optimise spray efficacy, 5) stop weed seed set, and 6) implement harvest weed seed control.

GRDC senior manager crop protection Emma Colson says advances in weed technology have transformed weed management and offer unprecedented opportunities for growers to combat weed issues effectively.

“It’s important to stay informed about the latest weed research technology, and WeedSmart Week is a great place to do that,” she says.

“One example of innovation revolutionising the industry is weed detection systems. These systems employ machine learning algorithms and high-resolution imagery to identify and map weed infestations.

“It’s technology like this that allows for targeted, precise, and more effective weed control measures, significantly reducing herbicide usage and costs.”

WeedSmart project manager Jessica Strauss says that this year will be the 10th anniversary of the event, as well as WeedSmart’s 10th year in operation.

“WeedSmart Week is a great opportunity for anyone involved in farming to learn, share experiences, and find practical solutions to mitigate weed and herbicide problems and increase profit,” she says.

“This year we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary with a three-day event jam-packed with presentations, farm visits, and machinery demonstrations.

“Participants will get to hear from leading experts and see how innovative farmers are tackling weed problems. They’ll also learn about the latest innovations in sprayer and weed detection technology.”

WeedSmart southern extension agronomist Greg Condon will be presenting at the Forum Day, as well as coordinating farm visits on days two and three. He encourages people to attend the full 3-day program to maximise their learnings.

Image of Greg Condon chairing with growers Gavin Howley (NSW), Brett South (Esperance, WA), and Broden Holland (NSW).

Greg Condon chaired the Spray Application Panel at WeedSmart Week Mildura, with growers (left to right) Gavin Howley (NSW), Brett South (Esperance, WA), and Broden Holland (NSW). Photo: WeedSmart

“The program kicks off with a Forum Day at the Dubbo Regional Theatre & Convention Centre on day one where leading agronomists and innovative growers will share practical solutions to optimise crop yields and profit whilst reducing the weed seed bank,” he says.

“For day two, Narromine grower Billy Browning will showcase his farm and explain how he uses the WeedSmart Big 6 ‘mix and rotate’ strategy to drive down the weed seed bank and increase profit.

“At the Machinery Expo at the Narromine Aero Club, growers will speak about their experiences with the latest in spray and camera technology, impact mills and other mechanical weed control tools and the day will conclude with a complimentary sundowner.

“And on day three, participants will have the opportunity to visit the farms of Tex and John Kilby (Gilgandra) and Gus O’Brien (Collie) and learn about the strategies they are implementing to keep weed numbers low.”

Registration for the three days is $320, and $290 for students. Return bus transportation for days two and three is included.

Group bookings are available for growers and agronomists with a 10% discount when booking five or more tickets. Enter the promo code FARMER10 and select the “Group 5+” ticket price. For more information and to register for WeedSmart Week 2023, visit the WeedSmart website.

Growers and advisors can also apply for GRDC support for study tours. To apply, visit the GRDC website.

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