Site-specific weed control for ginger cropping systems

Summary

Australian ginger growers face a significant threat from weeds with limited opportunities for incrop weed control and estimated substantial yield reductions of 60 to 80%. With limited available herbicide treatments and a lack of suitable application technology, growers rely on manual weeding (spot spraying and hand pulling) for incrop weed control. This requires the use of a significant labour force, with associated high costs. This approach carries a high risk of crop damage associated with the offtarget crop damage from spotspraying and hand pulling. These risks can be mitigated through the development of high precision sitespecific weed control methods. The proposed project will seek to: Identify alternative herbicide treatments for sitespecific selective weed control in ginger cropping systems compatible with automation. Develop sitespecific application technologies suited for use on autonomous platforms in ginger cropping systems. Test and develop lightweight autonomous platform designs, specifically for use in ginger production systems. Initial pot experiments will evaluate potential alternative herbicide treatments identified via a review of relevant literature and industry consultation. These preliminary screening studies will guide future field evaluations with the aim of identifying sitespecific herbicide treatment options. In parallel with the identification of novel herbicide treatments, sitespecific spray technologies for infield weed control will be developed and tested. These will include weed recognition systems allowing the precision application of herbicide treatments specifically to weeds only. The final project stage will focus on the development of a suitable platform that enables the autonomous delivery of sitespecific weed control treatments.

Program

Ginger

Research Organisation

The University of Sydney

Objective Summary

The overall objective of this project is to improve weed control opportunities in ginger cropping systems that significantly reduce costs and application risks by reducing the reliance on manual spot spraying and hand weeding. Within this objective are the two aims of i) identification of alternative herbicide treatments for sitespecific application and ii) development of sitespecific technologies suited to autonomous use in ginger crops. Project development stages: Herbicide screening for identification of alternative selective and nonselective herbicide treatments (years 12) Concurrent development of sitespecific technology for selective control of weeds in ginger (years 13) Refined weed identification and precision herbicide treatment application (years 23) Autonomous platform development specifically for ginger cropping systems (year 3) By the end of the threeyear project there is potential to reduce labour costs by up to 60% through a reduction in the requirement for manual weeding. Furthermore, improved production due to the timeliness of weed control is expected to increase income. These savings and increased income will be realised through the development of autonomous sitespecific weed control technologies. Weed control efficacy will be enhanced through the identification of novel herbicide treatments for selective incrop weed control. The development of a sitespecific approach to weed control that is based on weed recognition as well as improving the efficiency of herbicide treatments facilitates the introduction of alternate weed control technologies. The potential for utilising alternate weed control techniques such as pulling, electrocution and laser weeding will be incorporated into platform design.

Project Code

PRJ-011627

Project Stage

Current

Project Start Date

Monday, July 1, 2019

Project Completion Date

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

Biosecurity

National Priority

GIN-Drive on-farm productivity

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