Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Competitive ability of Australian canola (Brassica napus) genotypes for weed management

Deirdre Lemerle A B D , David J. Luckett A C , Peter Lockley C , Eric Koetz C and Hanwen Wu A C

A Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (an alliance between Charles Sturt University and NSW Department of Primary Industries).

B School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences, Charles Sturt University, PMB 588, Wagga Wagga NSW 2678, Australia.

C Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, NSW Department of Primary Industries, PMB, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: dlemerle@csu.edu.au

Crop and Pasture Science 65(12) 1300-1310 https://doi.org/10.1071/CP14125
Submitted: 23 April 2014  Accepted: 29 July 2014   Published: 5 November 2014

Abstract

Canola (Brassica napus L.) is an important break crop in Australian cropping systems but weeds are a major cost to production and herbicide-resistant weeds are spreading. The potential competitive ability of canola genotypes to both suppress weed growth and maintain grain yield and quality in the presence of weeds has not been determined in Australia. Two experiments examined the range in competitive ability of 16 B. napus genotypes against annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum Gaud.) and volunteer wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) over two contrasting seasons. Weed biomass at flowering was generally reduced 50% more in the presence of the strongly competitive genotypes than the least competitive, and this has significant benefits for lower weed seed production and reduced seedbank replenishment. Suppression of weed growth was negatively correlated with crop biomass. Significant differences in grain yield of canola were recorded between weedy and weed-free plots, depending on crop genotype, presence of weeds and season. Crop yield tolerance (where 0% = no tolerance and 100% = complete tolerance) to ryegrass competition ranged from 0% (e.g. with CB-Argyle) to 30–40% (e.g. with the hybrids 46Y78 and Hyola-50) in the dry season of 2009. Yield tolerance was higher (50–100%) with the lower densities of volunteer wheat and in the 2010 season. The range between genotypes was similar for both conditions. The hybrids and AV-Garnet were higher yielding and more competitive than the triazine-tolerant cultivars. The ranking of genotypes for competitiveness was strongly influenced by seasonal conditions; some genotypes were consistently more competitive than others. Competitive crops are a low-cost tactic for integrated weed management to reduce dependence on herbicides and retard the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Additional keywords: canola competition ideotype, crop tolerance to weeds, herbicide resistance, interference, cultivar weed suppression.


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