Can genotypic differences in wheat root growth aid in suppression of competing weeds?

Pieter-Willem Hendriks1,2,3, Leslie A. Weston2,3, Saliya Gurusinghe2,3, Cathrine H Ingvordsen1, David Smith4, Greg J Rebetzke1

1 CSIRO, Black Mountain Science and Innovation Park, Canberra, ACT, 2601,
2 Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga Campus, Building 289, North Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650,
3 Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (NSW Department of Primary Industries), Locked bag 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2678
4 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Yanco Agricultural Institute, Yanco, NSW 2703


Weeds are amongst the greatest challenges confronting growers and contribute to yield and quality losses estimated at about $4.3 billion per year. The rise of herbicide poly-resistant weeds is increasingly limiting the herbicide options for weed management. Including wheat cultivars with a greater competitive ability in an integrated weed management toolbox could be a cost effective, and simple to implement, strategy for farmers.

In this preliminary study we examined a selection of commercial and heritage wheat cultivars, and compared them with unique, CSIRO-developed high vigour wheat genotypes in field experiments at Yanco and Wagga Wagga NSW in 2018. Results show significant genotypic differences in weed suppression and root growth patterns requiring further investigation in follow-up studies.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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