Weed Management for the Vegetable Industry – Scoping Study
Weeds are a persistent problem for many vegetable producers in Australia. The common features of vegetable cropping systems, including frequent cultivation that results in highly disturbed soil, irrigation (particularly furrow or flood irrigation), and the addition of large quantities of nutritional inputs before planting and during the growing period, mean that the potential for weed growth is high. Weeds have a significant impact on the cost of growing a vegetable crop, as well as crop yield and quality. They make it more difficult to manage crops due to reduced pest management effectiveness, harvesting difficulties, lack of herbicide options, and limitations placed on the crop options available to farmers. In this project, we sought to identify the most important weed species in Australian vegetable production and the methods currently used to control them, gaps in current knowledge of weed control in the industry, potential lessons from other industries, and the research, development and extension issues of most importance to the industry. The project involved a review of the literature, a national survey of vegetable farmers, focus groups and farm visits in major vegetable producing regions across Australia, and key informant interviews.