21 June 2002

Controlling weeds in peas proves a struggle

By Andrew Swallow

DESPERATE times call for desperate measures and so it is in the world of vining pea weed control, with the Processors and Growers Research Organisation assessing the potential of mechanical weeding in response to the EUs pesticides review.

That could see the loss of all pre-emergence herbicide options for the crop from next year, causing growers severe production problems, says Jim Scrimshaw of the PGRO.

"We are trying to determine whether spring tines are an option in the crop. I would say there are possibilities from an early pass made in the direction of drilling, depending on the level of damage."

Growers may need to drill to a higher population and choice of variety seems critical, he adds. In the PGRO work, Bikini has stood up to the battering of the 8m Einbock tined weeder far better than Avola. "Avola is not a particularly robust variety and has taken a bit of a hammering."

Weed control has been mixed with weeds such as chickweed and speedwells generally well controlled, but the few cleavers present, fat hen and potatoes all escaping relatively unscathed, says colleague Edmund Bell.

"With volunteer potatoes its a case of dont grow the crop there in the first place and if you do get them you might have to revert to hand hoeing."

Passes have been made across each variety at 2nd node, 5th node and enclosed bud stage, some along the rows and some across. Maturity assessments and weed counts will be done but the trial will not be taken to yield. &#42

Tined weeding could be all thats left for pre-em weed control in vining peas soon, says PGROs Edmund Bell. Thin crops result.