Scoping Study for Sustainable Broadleaf Weed Control in Cucurbit Crops

Weed control options (particularly for broadleaf weeds) have been identified as a high priority issue by Australian cucurbit vegetable growers.  The aim of this scoping study is to identify the problems caused by weeds in cucurbit crops, current best practices used for weed control, and future options for more sustainable management of weeds.  The research involves a review of Australian and overseas literature, a survey of conventional and organic cucurbit vegetable producers, and discussion with chemical companies regarding herbicide options.

Research questions

  1. What impact are weeds having on cucurbit vegetable production nationally and in regionally and enterprise specific situations?
  2. Which weed species (grasses and broadleafs) are causing greatest difficulty?
  3. How are such weeds currently being controlled and with what level of success?
  4. Do control methods, such as herbicides, lead to crop damage and are they being utilized efficiently and effectively?
  5. Can weeds of cucurbit crops be controlled more sustainably (economically, socially and environmentally) with alternative methods that place less reliance on herbicides?
  6. Are there likely to be new herbicide options for cucurbit crops come on to the market in the near future in Australia?

Researchers included Professor Brian Sindel (project leader) and Dr Paul Kristiansen, School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, and Dr Ian Reeve and Michael Coleman, Institute for Rural Futures, University of New England.

Completed in 2011

Funded by: Horticulture Australia Limited

Partners: Brian Sindel, Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England

Contact: The Institute for Rural Futures