New tool for crop termination on the way
Ultra-high pressure water cutting is making its way onto implements used in the cotton farming system.
This technology, named AquaTill Injeticide, incorporates herbicide with ultra-high pressure water cutting. It’s great news for cotton growers, especially dryland growers, as it offers an alternative method of crop termination with minimal soil disturbance post-harvest.
Not only is successful crop destruction important to growers to meet the requirements of the Resistance Management Plan, it’s important to the industry as a whole, as ratoon cotton is an over-winter host for pests and diseases. With more herbicide genes being commercialised, ratoon control is becoming increasingly difficult with limited herbicide options available.
The AquaTill technology was first tested on mulched cotton in 2017, in a project with Sundown Pastoral Company’s Darren Hart and Greg Butler from the South Australian No-Till Farmers Association and QLD DAF’s Paul Grundy, supported by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC).
The initial trial found using ultra-high pressure water cutting had potential as an effective crop destruction method, and investigated the incorporation of herbicides for more robust control. CRDC supported this further investigation, working with Greg, Annabelle Guest and the Dryland Cotton Research Association.
The trials (using fluroxypyr) have been successful, and the team found that ‘nicking’ rather than completely severing the stem was most effective in delivering the herbicide dose and killing the plant.
“We think this is because the fluroxypyr translocates in the vascular tissue that has not been severed and that is why higher control is achieved with just a nick,” Annabelle said.
“We have also been working with manufacturers and towards registration of the technology as a new method of herbicide application.”
AquaTill Injeticide is the name given to the technology by the manufacturers of the ground engagement rig, a machinery manufacturer in Narromine, Central Western NSW.
A registrant is on board to expand their Fluroxypyr 400 product label to include AquaTill Injeticide as a new method for controlling cotton ratoon regrowth. For interested growers, demonstrations will be set up across cotton regions in the 2020-21 season.