New weed solutions unveiled in national research compendium
08 Oct 2012
Innovative new solutions to Australia’s weed problems have been unveiled in a compendium of research results from the National Weeds and Productivity Research Program.
Weeds are one of the major threats to Australia’s primary production and to the natural environment, costing Australian agriculture alone more than $4 billion each year in control costs and lost production.
The research program has delivered ground-breaking weed solutions, including new biological controls for traditionally hard-to-remove weeds; superior herbicide management practices to reduce the incidence of chemical resistance; strategies to improve weed surveillance and outbreak response; and creative new control strategies such as the targeted application of microwaves to instantly kill weeds.
The Australian Government provided $12.4 million to the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) to support more than 50 research projects conducted under the National Weeds Program, which ran from 2010 until 30 June 2012.
“The research carried out as part of the RIRDC Weeds Program was varied and comprehensive,” Chairman of the RIRDC Weeds Advisory Committee John Kerin said.
“A lot of the research will provide land managers with the knowledge and tools to control weeds and reduce their impact on agriculture and biodiversity.”
The 124-page compendium, National Weeds Research - A summary of research outcomes from the National Weeds and Productivity Research Program 2011-2012, contains summaries of the program’s research projects and their results.
Its release coincides with the commencement of the three-day 18th Australasian Weeds Conference being held in Melbourne, where some of the researchers are presenting their findings.
These include Christopher Preston, of the University of Adelaide, who will be presenting on his research into the alarming spread of weeds resistant to popular herbicides glyphosate and paraquat; and David Officer, Research Agronomist with the NSW Department of Primary Industry, whose project successfully tested the host specificity of Nigrospora oryzae, a naturally occurring fungus, as a biological control for giant Parramatta grass (GPG).
Mr Kerin said the National Weeds Program had delivered on its goal of improving the understanding of problem weeds and identifying new solutions.
“This has been important research, and research that needs to be built upon for us to successfully fight the challenges that weeds bring,” Mr Kerin said.
“This publication also represents the conclusion of the National Weeds and Productivity Research Program and the funding that it provided. It is vitally important that a national and centrally-coordinated research effort into weeds does not cease.
“Weeds research requires a long-term funding commitment to maintain momentum in addressing the on-going challenge of finding weeds solutions and to protect the knowledge and skills base of the weeds research community.”
• The National Weeds Research compendium will be available from Tuesday October 9 for purchase as hard copy or for free as a digital download via www.rirdc.gov.au.
• The 18th Australasian Weeds Conference 2012 is being held at the Sebel and Citigate, Albert Park, Melbourne, from October 8-11. More information is available at www.18awc.com. Media contact: Damon Whittock, ph. 02 6271 4175