Effect of ensiling and in sacco digestion on the viability of seeds of selected weed species

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    The germinability and viability of mature seeds of five grass (Hordeum spp., Bromus diandrus, Vulpia spp., Avena fatua and Lolium rigidum) and seven broad-leaved weed species (Echium spp., Physalis hederifolia, Solanum elaeagnifolium, Raphanus raphanistrum, Marrubium vulgare and Malva parviflora) that were either untreated, ensiled for a minimum of three months, underwent 48 h in sacco digestion in steers or ensiled prior to digestion were tested for germinability and viability. Ensiling and digestion both reduced seed viability, although the extent varied with species. The effect of ensiling was generally greater compared with digestion and differed between years for some species. Ensiling or ensiling plus digestion rendered all seeds of Hordeum spp., B. diandrus, Vulpia spp., A. fatua, Echium spp., P. hederifolia (in one year only), S. elaeagnifolium, R. raphanistrum and M. vulgare non-viable; ensiling and ensiling plus digestion reduced viability of L. rigidum by 74.4% and 92.7% respectively. Viability of M. parviflora displayed the greatest tolerance to damage, with seed viability reduced on average by 31.4%, 27.6% and 27.4% for ensiling, digestion and ensiling plus digestion treatments respectively. These results indicate that ensiling can provide an effective non-chemical weed management option, as a component of an integrated weed management package, for certain weed species responsible for significant crop and pasture production losses in Australian and world temperate and Mediterranean agricultural systems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)382-389
    Number of pages8
    JournalWeed Research
    Issue number6
    Early online dateSep 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


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