4 years and a combine upgrade proves Chaff Decks low cost HWSC answer

By September 28, 2020Article

Giles family has been farming in North Central Victoria for five generations.  Along with his father Stuart, Tim Giles runs their 2000-hectare operation Nerrina Farms, near Charlton in the Victorian Southern Mallee; where they grow a diverse rotation of wheat, barley, canola, lupins, faba beans, field peas and oaten hay.

Tim said they used a 2019 John Deere S780 combine for the 2019 harvest, in tandem with an EMAR chaff deck, as part of a Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) system to help reduce herbicide resistant weeds.

Prior to purchasing the John Deere S780 last year they had run a S670 combine for three years with the EMAR chaff deck system, switching the EMAR across to his new combine without hassle or cost.
“While no system can be 100 percent effective, we have already noticed a significant reduction in weed infestation since we started using the EMAR chaff deck,” Tim said.

“It is a great system as it places the chaff portion of the harvest residue, including harvested weed seeds, onto the wheel tracks (tramlines) behind the combine.

“This means the weeds are fighting to grow in a more competitive and hostile environment due to the higher concentration of plants and harder compacted soil in that area.
“We are currently still seeding our tramlines, and on the seeder, we have an extra hose to each of the tynes on the tramlines.

“This effectively doubles the rate of seed sown in the tramlines for even more competition where we know the ryegrass is going to be.”

Tim added that using the chaff deck system also helped to significantly reduce dust when summer spraying.

“This is beneficial because in normal conditions the dust being lifted from sprayer wheels can have a negative impact on herbicide efficacy,” he said.

“The current EMAR chaff deck has not significantly increased running costs and the initial purchase price was a small cost to pay in the battle against resistant weeds.”

He said that on the farm, they had been moving towards a greater take-up of CTF for the past five years or so.

“With all machine widths now matching and some machines on three-meter wheel centres, it’s a system that does take time to move across to.”

Tim said the aim of CTF in general was to improve soils by avoiding random heavy machinery traffic, and the chaff deck system fitted in well to add another layer to the CTF practices.

The Emar chaff deck is simply another tool in their ‘integrated weed management’ program to help reduce weed seed numbers and slow the further development of herbicide resistance, Tim added.