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Herbicides and their effects on pulses in Southern Australia

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Pulses, or grain legumes, are grown throughout the world. While they are the major source of protein for millions of people world wide and provide fodder for livestock, they also bring benefits to the grower via improved cereal yields in the season following a grain legume crop. This is because they act as break crops for cereal root diseases, provide an opportunity to control grass weeds with the use of selective herbicides and increase soil nitrogen (N2) through symbiotic N2 fixation.

With a shift towards more sustainable broad-acre farming practices such as reduced tillage and direct drill sowing, there has been a significant and rapid increase in the use of herbicides, including their 'in-crop' use, in Australia over the last 30 years. While herbicide use is recognised as necessary for weed control, the deleterious impacts of herbicides on grain legume production and symbiotic N2 fixation is of increasing concern.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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