Farmers flocked to Spring Ridge recently to see the latest tech to tackle resistant weeds.
About 150 farmers left their dry paddocks behind for the day to see innovation in action at the North West Local Land Services (NW LLS) field day.
LLS's Bill Manning was among the event speakers and said farmers even bused in from Coonamble and Trangie to the University of Sydney's Nowley Farm.
"There was quite a bit of discussion and the demos went well. People had feedback, plus and minus ... [and] sort of tended to focus on the practicality of different things and how it would apply for them, and if it would work or wouldn't work," he said.
"I think people saw potential. People on the Liverpool Plains are traditionally early adopters of new technology."
Among the tech was a header modification and mechanical weed chipper developed by researchers from the University of Sydney and Western Australia and agricultural engineers. Both concepts raised plenty of questions from farmers.
The header modification was demonstrated by Quirindi agronomist Peter McKenzie who says it is a simple and cheap way to confine weed seeds to the wheel trail.
"It is a metal chute off the back of the sieves on the header and that directs the chaff onto the ground behind the wheels of the header. The key to it all working is a deflector that goes up in the back of the header, which actually stops the chaff from being spread and directs it down into the chute," Mr McKenzie said.
"It's done wonders ... out there [at Nowley]. The investment in that was less than $1000 and it can save us $35 a hectare, say.
"It's a simple thing that the growers could do themselves and it's cheap ... Weeds are a big cost in the system and they're getting hard to control so we're looking for novel solutions because herbicide resistance is on the rise."
University of Sydney's weed research director Dr Michael Walsh was part of the team that developed the shoot for a Claas harvester and said they had used it at Nowley Farm for three years with good results.
"The observations are quite obvious in that the small grain in particular gets concentrated in the wheel tracks so that's a ready visual observation and it's a ready observation that it's working," he said.
"We've estimated that it's just another one of the harvest weed seed control that on average will reduce your rye grass population by 60-70 per cent."
Dr Walsh said a common question from the crowd was the availability of the shoot.
"It's pretty much a build-your-own system because it's pretty much different for every type of harvest and because it is harvesters, it's something most growers can readily do themselves," he said.
"It works equivalent to other systems and I guess the value of it is it's cheap, simple and visually effective ... so growers can see quite readily what they've done in terms of concentrating those weed seeds."
The university also demonstrated a weed chipper fitted with rapid-trigger tynes and sensors.
"[It] is a cultivator that has response tynes fitted to it ... and the idea is that the cultivator is used in fallows and when a weed is detected, a tyne is triggered to engage with the soil to chip out a weed," University of Dr Walsh said.
He said the chipper was developed after meeting with some growers in southern Queensland.
"As we were talking, one of the farmers was walking through the paddock from one fallow to another and kicking these weeds out with his boot," she said.
"One of the growers said, 'Surely we can come up with some sort of system to do it mechanically'."
Weeds are a big cost in the system and they're getting hard to control so we're looking for novel solutions because herbicide resistance is on the rise.Peter McKenzie, Quirindi agronomist
Dr Walsh said there was an "excellent response" from the crowd when the chipper was demonstrated.
"There were lots of very positive comments [like] 'We really need this to help fight herb resistance. We need to stop relying on herbicides. This is something we can use in all sorts of weather conditions we can't use herbicides in.' A whole bunch of comments along those lines," he said.
"It hasn't been developed before. It's one of those ideas people have thought about but there hasn't been the opportunity or need to develop something like this.
"Let's save our herbicides and use the weed chipper to chip out those weeds to kill them."