Government funding announced for weed biocontrol R&D project 15 Apr 2016

A research project that will look to find effective biocontrol solutions for 10 of Australia’s most invasive weeds has been granted funding through the Australian Government’s “R&D for Profit’ program.

The Government announced it will provide the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) $6.2 million to fund the four-year R&D project, titled ‘New biocontrol solutions for sustainable management of weed impacts to agricultural profitability’.

The project aims to improve the long-term profitability of primary producers by developing biocontrol solutions that will reduce the ongoing costs of weed control.

The project will focus on 10 highly invasive and damaging weeds: African boxthorn, cabomba, prickly acacia, sagittaria, silverleaf nightshade, fleabane, sowthistle, mother-of-millions, giant rat’s tail grass and ox-eye daisy. The 10 target weeds were selected after extensive consultation with industry and farmer groups.

RIRDC’s Acting Managing Director, Christine Quick said managing the threats that weeds pose to soil, water and natural resources is a key challenge to Australia’s agricultural sector.

“These weeds impact vast areas of agricultural and pastoral lands and their significant impacts conservatively cost Australia around $400 million each year,” Mrs Quick said.

“Biocontrol is the most cost-effective solution for landscape scale management of these weeds, with historical benefits outweighing R&D costs by over 23:1.

“Biocontrol is a sustainable approach that requires little ongoing investment once biocontrol agents are established, and this will help to enhance Australia’s agricultural competitiveness.”

The project partners are:


  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland

  • Goulburn Murray Water 

  • Grains Research and Development Corporation

  • NSW Department of Primary Industries

  • Primary Industries and Regions South Australia

  • Seqwater

  • Shire of Ravensthorpe

  • Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

  • Water and irrigation companies 

Significant in-kind contributions are also being made by state primary industry departments, regional councils, local land services and irrigation companies.

RIRDC is the managing agency for the project. The project will also be funded through partner contributions which when combined with the $6.2 million Australian Government grant takes the total value of the project to $13 million.