Author

Anthony Stibbard

Anthony Stibbard has over 7 years experience in the Australian agriculture sector in broadacre cropping and livestock. His academic Agronomic background together with working farm experience brings a theoretical and practical mix to his role as an Account Executive for New South Wales, Australia.


Sep 26, 2022

by Anthony Stibbard

Frost, that localized phenomenon that can be so destructive in spring. The 2022 season has been a particularly challenging one for many parts of Australia. Coming into September, susceptible crops can be severely affected by frost. Being able to identify damage sooner rather than later will help make better decisions to recoup as much of your lost profits as possible. Capturing accurate temperature information is a key to early detection of frost damage in crops. Plant surfaces cool more quickly than the surrounding air, so often air temperature is not an accurate determination as to what exactly is occurring in the canopy. The best method of temperature logging is to use an accurate temperature measurement tool placed at the height of the crop canopy. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) uses what is called a Stevenson Screen to measure temperature. The screen is raised so that the thermometer is 1.2m above the surface, and hence is not giving you a clear picture as to what is going on in your crop. A general rule of thumb is that the canopy temperature is approximately 1.5 - 2.5°C lower than the Stevenson Screen temperature during a frost event.  *Note it is important to monitor air or crop canopy temperature closely as frost occurs on clear nights in early spring when the air temperature drops to 2°C or less.  If you suspect a frost event has occurred in your canopy and the crop is between stem elongation and grain fill it is wise to inspect the crops as early as possible. Start with any paddocks which are known to be high risk, check low lying areas and light soil types first before inspecting the rest of the paddock. Ensure a wide area of the paddock is inspected as frost events can be highly variable throughout the paddock. Monitor the same high risk areas over the coming days to check for signs of frost damage. *Note frost symptoms may not be obvious for 5-7 days after the frost event.  What to look for? When inspecting individual plants, check the developing heads, the nature of the frost damage depends on the plant development stage when the frost occurs. Crop damage from frost may occur at any stage of development but is most damaging at or around flowering. When looking for damage a magnifying glass and knife are helpful tools in identifying damaged heads, flowers or stems.  Frost at flowering Frosted anthers typically white in colour, will turn a dull brown if affected by frost. The ovaries will appear shriveled as no grain is being produced and the head may have bleached florets. Grain; Frosted grain at the milk stage will turn from its typical white colour to a brown and crumpled appearance. Frosted grain at the milk stage will appear spongy, and brown in appearance and you will not be able to squeeze the milk out of the grain.  Stem frost A pale green or white ring will occur on the stem below the head or between the internodes. The frost affected area may turn white or brown and the heads may bend over.  If you suspect there is any frost damage in the paddock, call your local agronomist and discuss the next steps. It is important to get a clear understanding of the level of damage that has occurred and the likely yield loss. This will help you manage the next steps when considering alternate options, cutting, harvest, manuring or grazing are all options but without knowing the full extent of the damage the best decision may not be obvious. I always like to leave a test strip in a crop that does not reach harvest, just to check you have made the right decision.  Finally, ensure that any paddocks more severely affected than others are logged in your crop planning software, by doing this it will help you make more informed decisions of what and when to plant in high risk paddocks in coming seasons. For more information and help identifying frost affected crops the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has put together a Frost Identification Guide for Cereals . Shop Crop Protection Products  Find the crop protection products you need at FBN Direct®. We have a diverse portfolio to provide product options for growers like you to support plant health. References https://grdc.com.au/resources-and-publications/all-publications/publications/2020/frost-identification-guide-for-cereals/DPIRD-Cereals-Frost-Identification-Guide-October-2020.pdf https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/sites/gateway/files/GRDC-Managing-Frost-Risk-Tips-and-Tactics-Frost-050216-northen-southern-and-western-region%20%281%29%20%281%29.pdf https://media.bom.gov.au/social/blog/916/ask-bom-how-is-temperature-measured/ -- Copyright © 2021 - 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN", "Farmers Business Network", and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Products and services are offered by Farmers Business Network Australia Pty. Ltd. and are available only where Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Nothing contained on this page should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. Terms and conditions apply. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state/territory law to use any pesticide other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered chemical product is a violation of federal and/or state/territory law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix and that the usage of a product is otherwise consistent with federal, state, territory and local laws. We reserve the right to restrict sales on a geographic basis in our sole discretion. You must be authorised to use restricted chemical products under applicable state or territory law. Please consult your applicable state or territory authority for complete rules and regulations on the use of restricted chemical products as some products require specific record-keeping requirements.


Aug 05, 2022

by Anthony Stibbard

We’ve all heard of Net Blotch but most of us have struggled to control it in the past. Once those pesky dark blotches appear on barley leaves, you know things can become difficult from here on out. Fortunately, there are some key points to manage and reduce symptoms and help minimise yield and grain quality reduction. There are 2 strains of net blotch, Spot Form Net Blotch (SFNB) and Net Form Net Blotch (NFNB). Both are closely related and have the potential to cause significant yield loss if the crop becomes infected. Increase in barley production across the country has tightened the barley rotation and caused the disease to become more widespread, particularly in medium to high rainfall areas.  Before planting barley it is important to understand the disease resistance of your particular variety of barley. Sowing guides are available to give an indication of disease risk amongst certain varieties and this should be a go to resource pre-season. The information in The NSW Winter Crop Variety Sowing Guide is updated each year and provides fantastic variety specific detail. Most States in Australia will provide something similar to give you basic information on pre-sowing decisions for your region. Once you understand your variety susceptibility, it is important to understand the paddock risk. Avoid double cropping barley in the same paddock as the inoculum will survive on the stubble and reinfect the subsequent crop. The surviving spores on the stubble are also spread by wind, so it is important to monitor crops grown adjacent to last year's barley stubble as these crops are considered higher risk to developing the disease.  Once the decision has been made on variety and paddock it is important to apply a fungicide at the point of sowing. Seed dressing such as Systiva® have a registration for management of net blotch and in furrow fungicides should also be considered.  Effective use of foliar fungicides  Before applying foliar fungicides it is important to understand how the disease works. Net Blotch is what is considered a necrotrophic disease, meaning the infected plant tissue eventually dies. Most fungicides have limited translocation (movement) within the plant. However, when the tissue dies (which is the case with net blotch), no translocation occurs meaning it is very difficult to get fungicide into the site of infection. This reinforces the importance of understanding the risk profile of the variety and the paddock and if there is risk of infection, foliar fungicides should be applied before visible symptoms appear within the crop. Consult your local agronomist to pre-determine a growth stage for application. An application of around GS1-32 is generally recommended, but this will vary depending on the risk profile, seed treatment, weather conditions etc..  When it comes to application, rotating modes of action is important as net blotch has shown to build resistance to certain fungicide groups. There are a number of products which hold a registration for control or suppression of net form and spot form of net blotch. Ensure you read the product label carefully to determine the fungicide is effective on the form of net blotch you are looking to control, it is also important to check withholding periods.  Consult your local agronomist for timing, rates and product but research has found that propiconazole , prothioconazole, azoxystrobin and epoxiconazole based fungicides have shown to provide better efficacy on net blotch than tebuconazole based fungicides. To get a better understanding of fungicide activity Crop Life Australia provide a great table to reference. Keep in mind that if the disease is already present in the crop, suppression is only likely and a second application may be required in high rainfall areas.  Grain Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) is continuing their work in determining the resistance profile of the disease, if you believe you have a resistance problem get in contact with your agronomist ASAP to determine the strategy moving forward. Resources: https://www.croplife.org.au/resources/programs/resistance-management/fungicide-activity-group-table-2-draft/ Copyright © 2021 - 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN", "Farmers Business Network", and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by Farmers Business Network Australia Pty. Ltd. and are available only where Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice. Terms and conditions apply. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state/territory law to use any pesticide other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered chemical product is a violation of federal and/or state/territory law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix and that the usage of a product is otherwise consistent with federal, state, territory and local laws. We reserve the right to restrict sales on a geographic basis in our sole discretion. You must be authorised to use restricted chemical products under applicable state or territory law. Please consult your applicable state or territory authority for complete rules and regulations on the use of restricted chemical products as some products require specific record-keeping requirements. All product recommendations and other information provided is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for consulting the product label or for specific agronomic, business,or professional advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified advisor. Neither Farmer's Business Network Australia PTY Ltd nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed.


Jul 20, 2022

by Anthony Stibbard

The combination of a high priced canola market, and a wet, cool winter has led to the potential for severe Sclerotinia Stem Rot incidence in some areas. It is important to keep on top of your Sclerotnia management program, as under conducive conditions it can cause significant yield losses with reports of >20% when management is poor. Assessment of sclerotinia risk is important by identifying the risk of sclerontia developing on a paddock-by-paddock basis. Sclerotinia can survive for up to six years in the soil. A good rule of thumb is that if a paddock or adjacent paddock has had an infection of sclerotinia in the last 3 years, you can assume the paddock is at high risk of developing the disease. Paddocks with a tight rotation are also at risk, meaning if a susceptible crop has been grown in the paddock in the last 2 years, you can assume the paddock is at high risk. Susceptible crops include canola, lupins, chickpeas, lentils, faba beans and field peas. Certain weeds such as brassicas (including wild radish) and capeweed can also be infected with the disease. The best tools for management of soil borne diseases are rotating and keeping crops as clean as possible.  As we are already well into the season, monitoring at risk paddocks will be key to managing a potential outbreak of the disease. During cool and damp conditions during autumn or winter, the sclerotina spores in the soil germinate to produce small mushroom shaped structures (called apothecia). This happens in temperatures between 10-22 deg C. The apothecia produce thousands of air borne spores, which can be carried significant distances on the wind. If apothecia have been identified in the paddock or anywhere on the property, your canola is at risk of developing the disease. It is important to monitor conditions during flowering and implement a management strategy because these spores can infect the petals of the canola plant.  Like most fungal diseases sclerotnia loves moist conditions, therefore moist conditions during flowering puts the crop at significant risk of developing sclerotinia. During this period of moisture during flowering, the infected petals fall into the canopy and stick to the leaf axils (the joint of the leaf and stem). The fungus then invades the healthy stem and causes the stem to bleach, rot and the plant subsequently lodges. Timing of fungicides is important in preserving your yield and preventing a severe outbreak of the disease. Optimal timing is available on fungicide labels. However, it is always more beneficial to apply fungicides before or in the early stages of a disease outbreak. Teb Pro 420 is a fungicide which is registered for management of sclerotinia stem rot in canola. However, when making the decision to spray a few key determinants need to be taken into account. Does the paddock present a risk of developing sclerotinia – either by rotation, presence of inoculum in or in nearby paddocks (or on neighbours farm)? Crop growth stage Favourable weather conditions – rainfall and humidity during and after flowering is critical for disease infection of both the petals, and the secondary infection of the stem. Yield and gross margin potential – in years like this it is a bit easier to determine the need to spray, but a yield assessment, and gross margin assessment should be done before making the decision to apply fungicide. It is a difficult decision to apply a fungicide for sclerotinia. Every season is different and sometimes the conditions after spraying are not conducive of infection and the disease does not eventuate. The Western Australian Department of Primary Industries have developed a tool known as SclerotiniaCM which can help growers make a decision on whether or not to spray. The tool allows users to use paddock data, weather conditions and forecasts to assist canola growers with fungicide application decisions, on a paddock by paddock basis. The app* also provides the likely economic returns based on the data input. Sources: SclerotiniaCM - Sclerotinia Management App * Canola concepts: managing sclerotinia Copyright © 2021 - 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN", "Farmers Business Network", and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by Farmers Business Network Australia Pty. Ltd. and are available only where Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice. Terms and conditions apply. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state/territory law to use any pesticide other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered chemical product is a violation of federal and/or state/territory law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix and that the usage of a product is otherwise consistent with federal, state, territory and local laws. We reserve the right to restrict sales on a geographic basis in our sole discretion. You must be authorised to use restricted chemical products under applicable state or territory law. Please consult your applicable state or territory authority for complete rules and regulations on the use of restricted chemical products as some products require specific record-keeping requirements. All product recommendations and other information provided is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for consulting the product label or for specific agronomic, business,or professional advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified advisor. Neither Farmer's Business Network Australia PTY Ltd nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed.


Feb 10, 2022

by Anthony Stibbard

Pre-emergent herbicides play an integral role in both weed management and herbicide resistance management in Australian farming systems. Pre-emergent herbicides take the pressure of post-emergent chemistry and allow growers to have a longer chemical rotation. By rotating herbicide groups growers are reducing the selection pressure and the likelihood of developing herbicide resistance. Another major benefit of using pre-emergent herbicides is the reduction of competition from weeds as the crop is germinating. If a successful pre-emergent spray has been applied, the crop can establish quicker and once it matures, it becomes far more competitive against weed infestations.  Understanding your paddocks weed spectrum The key to an effective pre-emergent program is understanding how the herbicides you are using interact with the environment and also the weed spectrum you are attempting to control. Aligning your herbicide choice, and application strategy will result in an improvement in efficacy of pre-emergent herbicides. Assessing the stubble load and ground cover Once you have understood the weed spectrum in the paddock, the next step is to assess the stubble load and ground cover. Both standing and laying stubble will intercept the pre emergent herbicide during spraying resulting in a patchy or uneven application. Knowing how the herbicide will bind to organic matter will help in these types of decisions. For example, some herbicides bind tightly to organic matter, and even with subsequent rainfall will either very slowly wash into the soil, or in some cases with herbicides such as trifluralin, will not wash off at all. Early assessment of groundcover will help make decisions to alter the herbicide strategy, use tools such as tillage or stubble management to result in a successful pre-emergent application.  Herbicide loss through volatilisation The next herbicide property which needs to be understood is the volatility of the herbicide. A volatile herbicide will transition to a gaseous state if left on the soil surface. The longer it is left on the surface, the more it will break down. Herbicides such as Triallate and Trifluralin are highly volatile. When using volatile pre-emergent herbicides, incorporation needs to occur soon after spraying to minimise herbicide loss. Other herbicides such as Atrazine or Pyroxasulfone have much lower volatility, in most instances mechanical incorporation is still recommended however some herbicides can be applied to the soil surface and incorporated via subsequent rainfall with minimal losses.  Understanding the herbicide solubility is also important in successful pre-emergent strategy. A highly soluble herbicide such as clopyralid requires very little rainfall for incorporation. However, this high solubility also means the herbicide will move readily with soil moisture. And can be prone to leaching into the root zone of the crop and in some instances crop damage can occur. Conversely, a herbicide with a low solubility will require larger amounts of moisture to be incorporated and will not as readily move through the soil profile.  Certain crops are also susceptible to crop damage from registered pre emergent herbicides. When poor seed placement, incorrect herbicide incorporation or large amounts of rainfall damage to the emerging crop can result. Taking extra care at sowing time to physically displace the herbicide away from the seed without throwing the soil into the adjacent furrow is important. Placing seed at depth also provides physical distance between the seed and the herbicide and reduces the likelihood of crop damage occurring.  Pre-emergent herbicides are an important tool to minimise the impact of weeds in our cropping systems. Getting the most out of your applications is important for maximising returns and to keep the weed seed bank to a minimum. There are some technicalities that go with pre emergent herbicides and no 2 herbicides work and interact with the environment in the exact same way. Therefore, it is always important to follow the label recommendations and get some advice from your agronomist before deciding the best product to use.  Learn more  To find out more about our pre-em herbicide range of products available to help your farming operation, please visit fbn.com/en-au/direct . Copyright © 2021 - 2022 Farmers Business Network Australia Pty Ltd. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN", "Farmers First", "Farmers Business Network", and "FBN Direct" are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc.


Dec 09, 2021

by Anthony Stibbard

The recent announcement by the Bureau of Meteorology that a La Niña weather pattern has developed in the tropical Pacific is likely to be short lived in meteorological terms but persisting into late summer or early autumn. This weather pattern will result in above average rainfall across northern and eastern Australia during summer. Higher chances of rainfall events, coupled with global chemical supply shortages, which have resulted in price increases means growers need to plan ahead to maximise their chemical applications this summer. Using quality water when spraying is important to get the most out of your chemical and in turn getting better results on the ground.  Summer fallow spraying in Australia comes with its challenges as is. Adverse conditions, wind and other elements all affect the quality of results. Water quality can also drastically affect the efficacy of certain herbicides. Water testing is important to understand the key elements (pH, Hardness, Turbidity and Salinity) which may be resulting in a reduction in efficacy.   Water pH Water pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of your water and is measured on a scale of 1 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline). Bore water in Australia tends to be alkaline and this can result in issues when being used in a spray solution. Certain herbicides, when added to alkaline water can dissociate in solution resulting in less active ingredient being available in the spray solution, and in turn reducing the effectiveness of your application. It is advisable to understand the pH of your water and then if required a buffering agent such as Tebuf 700 can be added to water to reduce the pH. Buffering agents work by reducing the pH to a certain point but will not continue acidifying your solution if more is added. Other straight acid products will continue to acidify your solution the more you add.  Water Hardness Bore water in Australia often has a high content of Magnesium, Calcium and bicarbonates. These cations and bicarbonates present in the water can bind to certain active ingredients in solutions, which reduces the effectiveness of your spray. Glyphosate and 2,4-D Amine are 2 commonly used herbicides which will have reduced effectiveness if used in water with a high concentration of cations or bicarbonates. Ammonium sulphate can be used to reduce the hardness of water and improve the effectiveness of your spray solution. The standard rate for spray grade AMS is 800g/100L but it is strongly advised to get a water test done, to assess the overall hardness in order to adjust the rate as required.  Turbid Water Dirty water can also affect the quality of your spray solution. Certain products such as Paraquat binds tightly to clay molecules in the solution and will reduce the overall effectiveness of your spray application. Spraying with dam water is usually not advised but is required in some instances. Choosing the right products to use with dirty water is important and the addition of additives such as Alum can also be used to purify your water.   Salinity Salt in solution is very common in bore water around Australia. High saline levels can also result in some herbicides dropping out of solution, a reduction in spray effectiveness. Diluting the saline water with rainwater can help to reduce the salinity. A test to understand the overall salinity in your water is important to determine suitability for spraying.  Water testing is strongly advised in order to get the most out of your herbicides and improve the quality of your summer fallow sprays. If you are looking for more information on where to access water tests get in contact with your local Department of Agriculture representative. Water test strips are also available for purchase, these test strips can be used in the field and give a good indication of pH and hardness.  To find out more about products available to help your summer fallow spraying, please visit fbn.com/en-au/direct Resource http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/ Copyright © 2021 Farmsave Holdings Pty Ltd, t/a Farmers Business Network Australia. All rights Reserved. “FBN” and “FBN Direct” are registered trademarks or trademarks of Farmers Business Network, Inc. FBN Direct® Services are offered by Farmsave Holdings Pty Ltd and are available only where licensed.