By Sharon O’Keeffe, GRDC Manager Regional Grower Services – North
Weed research continues to be a major investment priority for the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) in a bid to secure the future viability of cropping systems throughout New South Wales and Queensland.
Herbicide resistance is a serious and escalating issue for growers across both states and it now affects multiple weed species and chemical modes of action.
Resistance is a costly problem. If resistance develops, growers will have to use other control measures or herbicides which may be more expensive or less effective, and in some cases it will force a move away from certain crops and a rethink of the entire farming system.
The GRDC is tackling herbicide resistance on a number of fronts, including research projects focussing on integrated weed management strategies. This is being done in collaboration with the state government departments of agriculture, universities, grower solutions groups and industry including the recently announced five year partnership with Bayer CropScience.
This research takes a three-pronged approach. It is investigating the alternative use of herbicides through using existing chemistries differently as well as working alongside industry to test new chemistries.
It is also assessing the effectiveness of non-herbicide techniques such as the use of cover crops and strategic tillage and the ability to successfully integrate these practices into existing farming systems.
The other important area of research centres on the collection of data regarding the extent and severity of herbicide resistance issues.
This involves collaboration with industry organisations, grower groups and government departments and is aimed at generating a coordinated approach to developing preventative strategies and best practice recommendations. It is particularly important to keep an accurate handle on glyphosate resistant weed populations given that this is likely to have the greatest adverse impact on cropping viability and sustainability.
Well-resourced and well-funded research is a critical weapon in the fight against herbicide resistance and the GRDC will continue to support projects that have the potential to deliver weed management solutions to growers.
Industry’s adoption of these research-based management solutions will help ensure that the herbicide resistance war is winnable and the productivity effects are lasting.
Caption: Sharon O’Keeffe, GRDC Manager Regional Grower Services, North.
Sharon O’Keeffe, GRDC northern regional grower services manager
0409 279 328
Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827