30/30 vision for pre-em grass weed control

BASF launched their 30/30 Plan last year to help growers get the best of both worlds: introducing a fresh pre-emergent mode of action to ease resistance pressure while continuing to make the most of what’s already working.

As the company’s cereals portfolio manager Roger States explained at the time, the plan recognises that growers have a lot of confidence in existing pre-em grass weed herbicides and Sakura in particular. So it aims to complement and protect that established chemistry rather than replace it.

“The introduction of Group 15 (then called Group J and K) chemistry really turned things around for a lot of growers who were struggling to manage big populations of resistant annual ryegrass.

“It took a few years for some growers to make the switch, but now those products – and Sakura especially – are mainstays of most programs.

“We’ve come up with the 30/30 Plan to cut down the lag between the release of important new chemistry and its widespread use, and to slow the development of resistance to Group 15 and other, older formulations.

“This is particularly important because of the cross-resistance risk between herbicides in Groups 3, 13 and 15 that has been described in recent scientific publications by prominent researchers like Steve Powles, Roberto Busi and David Brunton.

“The plan is simply for growers to use the unique Group 30 chemistry of Luximax on 30% of their wheat crop as an extra ‘mini rotation’ within the standard program.

“Adding complexity to your rotation is the only way to ensure your cropping programs are sustainable – if you are only using one product or one group in your program, resistance is on its way.”

CropLife’s resistance table shows the absence of annual ryegrass resistance to BASF’s Luximax. 

Scott Walker, whose historic family farm is at Quaraiding in WA, was already practising a variation on the 30/30 Plan before it was invented. He sprayed 200 hectares in 2020, had a good result in paddocks where ryegrass control was a challenge, and has kept using this approach on increasing areas each year since then.

“I can understand why people want to keep using proven performers, but you’ve just got to be wary that they are going to run out… You’ve got to look at a different option.”

Interviewed in a Luximax-treated paddock late in the season, Mr Walker spoke of the high level of residual control: “I’ve been really impressed with what Luximax has done to this paddock. We’ve looked over it, haven’t seen any new emerging grasses, so we’ve just left it. Given it a radish spray and that’s it.”

The 30/30 Plan is designed to help both keep Luximax free of resistance issues and manage the impact of resistance on the other pre-emergent herbicides for as long as possible.

As Mr States has said, “The 30/30 Plan will help growers ease into using the newer chemistry with the reassurance that they’ll be able to go on using other older alternatives more widely and effectively for longer. We’ve got to protect what we’ve got.

“Over the course of a few seasons, the weed seedbank in each paddock will be exposed to an entirely new mode of action. That will help manage resistant biotypes that would begin to dominate the population if they went on only being challenged by the same chemistry that they are already partially resistant to.”

Mr States said swapping in Luximax for one of the other premium pre-emergent grass herbicides will have no negative impact on the efficiency and flexibility of their programs. Both replicated trial results and commercial use have repeatedly confirmed that Luximax can match the highest levels of residual weed control growers expect.

“Luximax is very effective as a standalone treatment, but of course it would very seldom be applied that way. All the most likely mix partners like glyphosate, paraquat, trifluralin, triallate, prosulfocarb, carfentrazone and metsulfuron are on the Luximax label.”

Mr States said the value of Voraxor – BASF’s Group 14 co-formulation, was predominantly as a broadleaf pre-em herbicide – used as a single tank-mix partner that can do several important jobs at once.

“Voraxor can play the same role as trifluralin in spiking the superior grassweed herbicides’ control of annual ryegrass, but with the massive added benefits of both knockdown and extended residual pre-emergent control of key broadleaf weeds.

“Adding both Luximax and Voraxor to the mix is all part of spreading the load to maintain the highest standards of control while also protecting the chemistry our broadacre cropping has become so reliant on. That’s what the 30/30 Plan is all about.”

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