A decision by Western Australian grower Karl Raszyk to purchase additional land infested with resistant ryegrass back in 2008 triggered the development of EMAR Chaff Deck and the tram lining system. The land had dramatically low yields (<0.5T/Ha) with questionable viability for cropping.   Karl and his farm manager Robert Hughes were convinced that Harvest Weed Seed Control (HWSC) offered them opportunities to manage the resistant weeds but needed an approach that require less labour and was low cost.  This opened up conversation with contract harvester James Buttle and an opportunity to develop a mechanical tool to tackle the problem of resistant weed seeds.

Using the EMAR Chaff Deck Karl and Robert over the next four years cleaned-up the farm and increase their yield from less than 1.0T/Ha to 5.0T/Ha.   And from the trial product James, as the inventor of the chaff deck system, found that other growers started wanting his product to help to deal with their weed problems. So from concept to 2-3 units a week James found himself needing a reliable commercial partner to manufacture and market the EMAR Chaff Deck and turned for help to Primary Sales Australia in 2014 who are now the global licensed manufacturer and distributor of EMAR Chaff Deck.

For growers the EMAR Chaff Deck is another tool in their tools box for tackling weeds.  As Robert said,  “..with the chaff deck installed there is nothing else for the operator to do other than keep an eye on the header height, the harvester cuts at a height of 100–125 mm, or lower if necessary, to put as much biomass (chaff) through the harvester (combine) and onto the chaff deck as possible. The chaff component containing a high percentage (95%) of the weed seeds present at harvest is delivered directly onto tramlines (behind he wheels) while the rest of the material (straw) is chopped and spread by the spreaders.”

While for their 9,700ha of cropping at Dolany Farm their environment enables them to allow the chaff in the tramlines to composts the weed seeds resulting in minimal weed seed germination, for other growers they are changing and concentrating their summer spray program to maximise the benefit.  Its very much a farm by farm decision.

New South Wales Grower Warwick and Di Holding have chosen to alter their program to achieve additional benefit by spraying the tramlines where the weed seed are concentrated (Chaff deck to weed lining – spraying 8% of the paddock).  Chris Preston, University of Adelaide associate professor,  has said treating weed seed in a narrow tram line with a shrouded or shielded spray unit, was a much more cost effective way to tackle weed seed rather than spraying an entire paddock. “If (the weed) does germinate then they can just drive over and put a (shrouded sprayer) down and kill it all … and only applying herbicide to 5 per cent of your farm, so you are saving a fair bit of money,” he said.

For more feedback from other growers on their experience please see Resources.  And for more on  Karl Razsyk and Robert Hughes experience see WeedSmart article by Cindy Benjamin, February 2017.

Primary Sales Australia visit website: www.primarysales.com.au.