Boosting innovation capacities in weed control research
Author: GRDC | Date: 02 Jun 2015
Monheim, June 2, 2015 – Bayer CropScience and the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) based in Australia have signed a five-year agreement to join forces to establish the Herbicide Innovation Partnership for the discovery and development of innovative weed management solutions. The major aim is to provide growers with new technologies to manage resistant weeds and support the sustainability of modern crop production systems. The cooperation also includes a post-doc program which will help expand scientific know-how among Australian researchers by providing training in advanced industrial research techniques.
A substantial reduction in corporate investment for weed control research and development over recent decades has resulted in a gap in herbicide technology development. No new herbicide mode of action has been developed over the last 20 years, reducing grower choices to effectively manage resistant weeds. This development is challenging growers’ profitability and sustainability.
“Increasing weed resistance to major herbicide classes is endangering broadacre crop production on a global level”, said Axel Trautwein, Head of Small Molecules Research at Bayer CropScience. “New weed control solutions are a priority for our research. The challenges to solve those problems are too large for one company, university or even country. We need a network of partners with complementary specialisations. This cooperation with GRDC and Australian universities is an excellent example of such a global network that will deliver real benefits to Australian agriculture and beyond.”
GRDC will support the extension of research capacities at the Bayer CropScience global centre of excellence for weed control research in Frankfurt, Germany. About 40 additional researchers – a significant number of them to be recruited in Australia – will boost the abilities in Frankfurt to identify and explore advanced technologies. One major focus is to provide Australian agriculture with solutions to manage weed control problems including ryegrass and wild radish, though the research will benefit growers world-wide.
“In Australia alone, it is estimated farmers lose more than A$3 billion per year due to resistant and poorly controlled weeds. We see this as an important opportunity to tackle this challenge and put Australian farms at the forefront of this exciting cooperation. We want to add as many tools to the integrated weed management toolbox as possible”, said Richard Clark, Chairman at GRDC. “This partnership reaffirms GRDC’s commitment to improving grower profit as its highest priority. It’s important because a healthy, profitable grains industry is not just in the best interests of our growers; it’s in the best interest of all Australians.”
In November 2014, Bayer CropScience inaugurated its weed resistance competence centre in Frankfurt to develop new weed control strategies, and share knowledge within the global community of farmers, agronomists and scientists. Now Bayer and GRDC are stepping up their efforts to rejuvenate the grower’s toolbox for integrated weed management by providing new mode of action herbicides and as well as safener technologies.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 9,494 million (2014) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 23,100 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available on the Bayer website.
The Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations, responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing RD&E to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
The GRDC’s primary objective is to drive the discovery, development and delivery of world-class innovation to enhance the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Australian grain growers and benefit the industry and the wider community. GRDC recognises that the control of weeds is a major driver of farm profitability. This is a priority area identified for investment by a majority of growers. GRDC currently has a significant intergrated weed management R&D portfolio, including support of the Australian Herbicide Resistance Iniative and numerous projects around the country.
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