Let’s talk feathertop Rhodes grass
The key to managing feathertop Rhodes grass (FTR) is to stop it in in tracks before it becomes established. This can be easier said than done in a farming system that typically manages weed problems reactively – that is waiting until the weeds have germinated and then taking action.
Feathertop Rhodes grass is very well adapted to no-till fallows. Under the right climatic conditions, it can rapidly emerge and quickly become too large for spraying, so the optimal spray window can be as little as a few days. Glyphosate is usually ineffective and those post-emergent herbicides which are the most reliable need to be targeted at very small weeds, soon after emergence. This makes it especially difficult to control populations when managing large areas that have all germinated on a rainfall event, especially as all standard post-emergent herbicides will require a second double-knock application.
The key to managing FTR is to be on top of it from the start. Farm hygiene is critical. Wherever isolated plants are found they should be physically removed before setting seed.
Understand that, in zero till fallows, FTR is most likely to be the first weed to establish after winter – so management plans need to be in place before the first spring rainfall event – ideally by having an effective residual herbicide already applied, or being ready for an effective post-emergent double knock within 1-2 weeks of emergence.
In response to the ongoing FTR problem, GRDC has initiated a new investment to assist growers and agronomists in southern Queensland and northern NSW in developing strategies to manage this weed.
Five demonstration paddocks will compare a best management approach to local grower standards over the next two summers.
Sites are located at
- St George
Stay tuned to see photos and videos from these sites, along with notifications of field walks.
ICAN facilitated five 1-day workshops on feathertop Rhodes grass ecology and management for growers and advisers in late November/early December 2020. If interested in a future workshop, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or Ph: 02 9482 4930 to be notififed if any more will be conducted.
For those unable to attend planned events in person, we will be providing additional resources and media.
Come back here to make sure you are abreast of the latest information on FTR management.
Feathertop Rhodes information
Tactics for feathertop Rhodes grass management outlined in the north
Is it safe to plant winter cereals after using Group A herbicides?
Winter ideal time for feathertop Rhodes grass control plan
GRDC Grains Research Update, online - Feathertop Rhodes grass (southern NSW)