Ingham cane grower Robert Quabba tried AmiTron herbicide last year after hearing about it from Northern AgriServices agronomist Gary Williams.
Robert and his brothers farm 235 hectares of cane over two properties in the Ingham area. Last year they used AmiTron for the first time in ratoon cane and trialled the new herbicide in plant cane against their normal regime.
Their plant cane trial was undertaken on a six hectare block comparing two pre-emergent applications side-by-side. Half the block was treated with a mix of AmiTron at 500g/ha plus Gramoxone at 1.6L/ha, and the other half was treated with a mix of diuron, Balance and Gramoxone.
Robert found that the AmiTron herbicide mix did the “better job.”
“Vines were evident where we used the other brew and there was a lot more arsenic weed present,” he said, “but the AmiTron mix kept the vines out and was pretty clean. I’m really happy with the result.”
Vines are problematic as they have large tough seeds with the vigour to germinate from depth and push through a trash blanket. The unique ability of AmiTron to move through the soil with pulses of irrigation or rainfall allows the herbicide to reach deeply embedded germinating vine seeds.
AmiTron (700g ai/kg amicarbazone) is a new UV stable herbicide with both pre- and post-emergent activity against grasses, broadleaf weeds and some sedges.
Being UV stable with an excellent ability to pass through trash, AmiTron provides a good fit for some application timings not available to many herbicides in cane. It’s just as effective over a fresh green trash blanket as it is on bare soil, providing growers with flexibility for use on ratoon or plant cane.
Robert used AmiTron in their ratoon cane last season with great results. A herbicide tank mix of AmiTron at 500g/ha, 100g/ha Balance and 1.2L/ha Gramoxone was applied post-harvest straight over cane up to two-leaf stage on a green trash blanket.
“I’m that wrapped in the results in the ratoon cane and will definitely be using AmiTron again,” said Robert. “I find that if you can get it clean post-harvest it stays clean.”
As in most cane growing areas last year Ingham had a very dry start to the season, receiving limited rainfall post-harvest until December, when the skies finally opened and months of very wet weather followed.
Gary Williams, agronomist at Northern AgriServices in Ingham has been impressed with the performance of the new herbicide so far, noticing good efficacy up to 12 weeks after application, even on out-of-hand applications receiving considerable rainfall since herbicide application.
“I’ve found AmiTron to be a good tank mix partner,” he said, “and when used in conjunction with a grass herbicide you get very good control of both grasses and problematic broadleaf weeds and vines such as arsenic weed and passionflower.”
When used in the right tank mix AmiTron not only allows for longer periods of efficacy, but can also help in achieving a wider weed spectrum.
“AmiTron is a very flexible herbicide,” said Gary. “Most importantly, it provides us with a good alternative to diuron.”
IMAGE: The Quabba’s plant cane trial approximately 12 weeks after broadcast pre-emergent application. Application of AmiTron and Gramoxone (left) compared to diuron, Balance and Gramoxone application (right). Ingham, 2018.