New canola technology set to extend in-crop weed control

Friday 12th October 2018

The extended spray window that TruFlex® canola with Roundup Ready® Technology offers will provide growers with the advantages of more flexible weed control and higher yield potential.

New technology that allows extended weed control in canola has been demonstrated in trials throughout Western Australia.

TruFlex® canola with Roundup Ready® Technology is the first new genetically modified canola trait since 2008. It is not yet commercially available, but current plans are to commercialise for the 2019 growing season.

Bayer Crop Science Regional Business Manager, Hugh Trenorden, said TruFlex canola has several advantages over Roundup Ready® canola, which is currently being grown across canola areas throughout the state.

Speaking from a TruFlex canola paddock, at Warradarge in the mid-west region of Western Australia, Mr Trenorden said the technology was being released at an excellent time for the state.

“Roundup Ready canola has been really successful, particularly in the northern half of WA. We're getting really good weed control with a profitable and sustainable system. The extended spray window that TruFlex canola offers will allow growers to take advantage of these benefits over an even longer period, providing better weed control and higher yield potential.”

Mr Trenorden said TruFlex canola could be sprayed three times at the 0.9 kilograms per hectare rate of Roundup Ready Herbicide with PLANTSHIELD® by Monsanto, or twice at the higher rate of 1.3 kilograms per hectare.

“It's about flexibility,” he said. “No farm is the same, no weed spectrum is the same.”

Importantly, the final Roundup application can be applied when the crop is at ten per cent flower, providing an ideal opportunity to control late germinating weeds.

“It's all about farmers using appropriate rates of herbicide, Roundup in this instance, on the weed at the appropriate time," Mr Trenorden said.

Farmer Tim Hayes, who hosted the TruFlex canola field day on his Warradarge property, said the new technology would provide greater flexibility in their farming system.

He said this season there was a late germination of ryegrass two weeks after the second and final application of Roundup Ready Herbicide with PLANTSHIELD.

“It is something that I think we'll definitely be taking up, just to be able to get those heavier rates and get in a lot later so you're going to pick up those later, staggered germinations of weeds."

Mr Trenorden said many parts of Western Australia had favourable conditions from June through to August.

“We've had a lot of the weed seed bank continuing to germinate because conditions have been so conducive to growth. It has happened on the Hayes’ property. After the second spray, there has been a third flush of weeds which, potentially, you could have controlled with spraying at ten per cent flower."

The Warradarge field day was well attended and included demonstrations of canola hybrids from three TruFlex canola seed partners, Nuseed, Pacific Seeds and BASF.

“The seed companies have been working with the TruFlex canola trait for several years and are developing a suite of hybrid varieties carrying the trait,” Mr Trenorden said. “We're optimistic about the yields of TruFlex canola and there will be a range of maturity types available to growers.”

He said these included TruFlex canola stacked with other herbicide tolerances such as triazine-tolerant and Clearfield, as well as Pod-Guard® technology.

Mr Hayes said the stacked herbicide trait offerings were of interest as part of growers’ rotations, for instance using TruFlex canola with Clearfield herbicide tolerance after a crop of Clearfield barley to ensure no crop damage from residual imidazolinone herbicides.

“It really starts to open up your rotations where you can use different weed control options," he said.

Mr Trenorden said there is potential for a small commercial offering of TruFlex canola in 2019 although farmers should secure their Roundup Ready canola as a priority.

Farmer Tim Hayes, who hosted the TruFlex canola field day on his Warradarge property, with Bayer Crop Science Regional Business Manager, Hugh Trenorden.