AWC - Funded Research

Harrington Seed Destructor Evaluation at Field Scale in Alberta

Summary:

Herbicide resistance is increasing in severity across the Prairies. New weed management techniques are needed. Harvest Weed Seed Control (HWSC) is a form of weed control from Australia focussed on managing seeds dispersed by combines. The Harrington Seed Destructor (HSD) is one method. There is interest in how well it will work in Canada. This project will investigate the HSD's efficacy across different cropping systems, potentially providing a new weed control method for Canadian producers.


Objective:

The objective of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of the Harrington Seed Destructor on weeds in Alberta and determine if efficacy varies by cropping system and management choices (i.e. swathing or straight cutting). Evaluation of the Harrington Seed Destructor will aid in identification of potential weed control options for producers to incorporate into their cropping systems.


Benefits to producers:

HWSC provides a viable, non-chemical weed control option that could be used by producers without a significant time requirement. Producers are looking for easy, economical and effective ways to manage their weeds (Shaner and Beckie 2014). While the HSD was initially not overly of interest to producers because of high initial costs and the towing requirement, the development and availability of the integrated seed destructor (AHRI 2016) decreases costs and simplifies the machine. The machine to be tested in Alberta is the original HSD, however studies have shown the tow-behind and integrated systems to have equivalent weed control efficacy (M. Walsh, personal communication).

These studies will evaluate the HSD in the common crops in central AB and provide comparisons between swathed and straight cut systems. Whether the machine works in our crops and on our weeds is critical to determine whether this machine will be an effective tool for western Canadian producers. With the increased herbicide resistance level, and the lack of new herbicide modes of action, the HSD provides a potential alternative management technique to protect crop yields and our cropping systems.


Bio:

Dr. Breanne Tidemann is a weed scientist at AAFC Lacombe. She grew up on a grain farm in west central Saskatchewan and completed her education at the University of Alberta. She conducts research into herbicide resistance, novel weed control methods and integrated weed management techniques. She also works closely with her colleagues at AAFC Lacombe on Integrated Crop Protection studies.