Weed suppressive potential of winter cover crops established as monocultures and mixtures in Southern Australia

Saliya Gurusinghe, Shamsul Haque, Michael J. Widderick, Annemieke Ruttledge, Asad Shabbir, Michael J. Walsh, Leslie Ann Weston

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Leguminous and other cover crops provide rotational diversity resulting in reduced erosion, improved soil tilth, moisture retention, weed control and nitrogen fixation in mixed farming and cropping systems. Cover crops suppress weeds through competition for resources or through the production and release of phytotoxic metabolites exuded by living roots or decomposing plant residues. Field experiments were established in winter growing season in Wagga Wagga and Narrabri NSW, and Kingaroy QLD, to evaluate the establishment of various cover crop species and assess their competitive traits for winter weed suppression in 2018, 2019 and 2020; however, only results from
the experiments established in the 2020 growing season are presented. Crop and weed competitive traits were estimated by assessment of canopy light interception (LI), and crop and weed biomass, in both monocultures and binary species mixtures of cover crops. Overall, grazing oats and tillage radish
as winter covers accumulated the greatest biomass and strongly reduced weed number and biomass in winter annual weeds. Interestingly, binary mixtures of suppressive cover crops performed similarly to individual monocultures with respect to ground cover and accumulation of weed biomass.
Experimentation to optimise the economical use of productive monocultures and mixtures in eastern Australia is underway.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystem Solutions for Complex Problems
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Australian Agronomy Conference Toowoomba, Queensland 18-22 September 2022
EditorsLindsay Bell, Bhagirath Chauhan
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian Society of Agronomy
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2022
Event20th Australian Agronomy Conference - Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, Australia
Duration: 18 Sept 202222 Sept 2022
https://agronomyconference.com/2022-conference/ (Conference website )
https://www.agronomyaustraliaproceedings.org/index.php/2022 (Proceedings)
https://web.archive.org/web/20230331154751/https://az659834.vo.msecnd.net/eventsairseasiaprod/production-expertevents-public/8313fc094e3043ceadc259e62364da10 (Program on Wayback Machine)


Conference20th Australian Agronomy Conference
Abbreviated titleSystem solutions for complex problems
OtherThe theme of the conference is System Solutions for Complex Problems. The theme underpins the need to strengthen collaborations between practitioners and researchers from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds to address increasingly complex problems and uncertainties. So, the question is not If, but when and how, multidisciplinary collaborations will be developed.
The 20th Australian Agronomy Conference will feature leading international and national speakers addressing issues such as the need to foster soil biology for enduring profitability, carbon sequestration, herbicide resistance, and the interwoven relationships between food production, energy and the environment. We will discuss and share our latest research findings amongst circa 300 agronomists from Australia and the world, as well as farmers, consultants, agribusinesses and farmer peak bodies.
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