Simulating the population dynamics of barley grass (Hordeum spp.) and impacts of weed management strategies in a southern Australian lucerne (Medicago sativa) pasture

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Abstract

Context: Barley grass (Hordeum spp. L.) is an annual, invasive grass weed of southern Australian crops and pastures, frequently associated with weight loss and carcass damage in sheep due to its sharp seeds. Knowledge gaps exist regarding optimal density thresholds for effective control to reduce impacts on animal production. The value of integrated weed management (IWM) over individual control options for reducing barley grass populations in pasture is also unknown.Aims: We aimed to develop a model for simulating the population dynamics of barley grass within lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) pastures of southern Australia and to test the hypothesis that combining herbicides with mowing will be more effective for removing barley grass seedbanks over time than individual control measures.Methods: The model was developed within Microsoft Excel and adapted from other annual grass models. The model takes a Monte Carlo approach to simulate control impacts on weed seedbanks over 10 years using five weed-control density thresholds. It was parameterised using data from recent experiments and available literature.Key results: The most effective long-term control strategy for barley grass occurred with a density threshold of 5 seedlings m−2 by combining early and late herbicide applications, and by combining early and late herbicides with mowing, reducing the seedbank by 86% and 89%, respectively.Conclusions: Simulation results showed that IWM programs were more effective than individual control options in reducing the barley grass seedbanks over 10 years, particularly at low weed densities (≤50 seedlings m−2).Implications: Incorporation of this model into a bioeconomic grazing systems model will be valuable for determining the economic impacts and optimal weed-control strategies for minimising the effects of barley grass seed contamination in lamb production systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-897
Number of pages10
JournalCrop and Pasture Science
Volume74
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2023

Grant Number

  • MLA B.STU.1807
  • AW Howard Memorial Trust Fellowship

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