Assisting our clients to reduce reliance on chemical inputs is one of our focuses for promoting healthier, more sustainable and profitable farming system.
Aside from improving our soil, crop and ecosystem health, another way we can try to lower our chemical inputs is by trialling alternate drying down techniques to reduce the need for chemical desiccation at harvest time. The summary information below has been taken directly from three articles discussing swathing mungbeans (and potentially other crops) instead of chemical desiccation. See links below for more information.
Swathing Mungbeans – is it an alternative desiccation method in mungbeans?
Doug Sands, Jayne Gentry & Cameron Silburn
Currently Australian mungbeans are chemically desiccated prior to harvest to aid in dry down of the crop and facilitate mechanical harvest. The main product used is glyphosate. With the improvement in mungbean varieties resulting in more vigorous plants, desiccation has become increasingly problematic. At the same time, mungbean export markets are becoming increasingly sensitive to pesticide maximum residue limits (MRL’s).
A range of chemical treatments (including glyphosate at the recommended rate and double the rate and diquat at the recommended rate) were compared with mechanical swathing and control treatments at various stages of physiological maturity.
Take home messages:
A one-year proof of concept swathing trial indicated:
- Mechanical desiccation (swathing) produces similar yield, quality and screening results to chemical desiccations, if it is applied when the crop has 90% of its pods at physiological maturity
- Mechanical desiccation causes the plant material to dry down much faster than chemical desiccations
- Mechanical desiccation produces the best results when it is harvested within 7 to 10 days of application – timing is crucial
Swathing other crops:
- Swathing sorghum also has potential – see anecdotal discussion in link below