Tropical Grasslands (2005) Volume 39,171–181

Selective herbicide strategies for use in Australian desmanthus seed crops


1Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Walkamin Research Station, Queensland, Australia
2Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand


Grass and broad-leaved weeds can reduce both yields and product marketability of desmanthus (Desmanthus virgatus) seed crops, even when cultural control strategies are used. Selective herbicides might economically control these weeds, but, prior to this study, the few herbicides tolerated by desmanthus did not control key weed contaminants of desmanthus seed crops. In this study, the tolerance of desmanthus cv. Marc to 55 herbicides used for selective weed control in other leguminous crops was assessed in 1 pot trial and 3 Queensland field trials. One field trial assessed the tolerance of desmanthus seedlings to combinations of the most promising pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. The pre-emergent herbicides, imazaquin, imazethapyr, pendimethalin, oryzalin and trifluralin, gave useful weed control with very little crop damage. The post-emergent herbicides, haloxyfop, clethodim, propyzamide, carbetamide and dalapon, were safe for controlling grass weeds in desmanthus. Selective post-emergence control of broad-leaved weeds was achieved using bentazone, bromoxy nil and imazethapyr. One trial investigated salvaging second-year desmanthus crops from mature perennial weeds, and atrazine, terbacil and hexazinone showed some potential in this role. Overall, our results show that desmanthus tolerates herbicides which collectively control a wide range of weeds encountered in Queensland. These, in combination with cultural weed control strategies, should control most weeds in desmanthus seed crops.

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