Maximum firepower against weeds

Director of the CRC for Weed Management, Associate Professor Stephen Powles, with a target species: St John's Wort

It's official — the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Weed Management Systems is up and running since July 1.

To show how serious they are about beating weeds, government, with research and industry partners in the Centre, will provide backing valued at $7 million each year for the next seven years. And support from growers will make sure that the message gets out, thanks to GRDC investment of $0.5 million each year in education and adoption programs.

Anyone who doubts the program means businesss should look over the Centre's target list. It reads like a Who's Who of 'bad boys' of Australian agriculture. The researchers will begin by pitting their collective skills against such weeds as ryegrass, wild oats, wild radish, Three-Corner Jack, Salvation Jane/Paterson's Curse, St John's Wort and thistles.

A number of Cooperative Research Centres established since 1990 aim to bring maximum firepower to bear on seemingly intractable national problems. This Centre is no exception. It will bring together top scientists, institutions and resources to beat problems through collaborative scientific effort and technical innovation.

The Centre headquarters are at the University of Adelaide. The Weed Management Program of the CSIRO Division of Entomology and NSW Agriculture's weed ecology group will take part.

Five programs

The Centre will organise its work in five programs. They are:

  • Cropping Systems, led by Dr Deirdre Lemerle from NSW Agriculture Wagga Wagga;
  • Perennial Pastures, led by Dr David Kemp of NSW Agriculture, Orange;
  • Natural Ecosystems, led by Dr Richard Groves of the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry in Canberra;
  • Education, led by Dr Richard Roush from the Waite Institute, University of Adelaide; and
  • Adoption, led by Dr Jim Fortune of Roseworthy Campus, University of Adelaide.

Getting the message out

The last two programs — education and adoption — are closely connected. Both are supported by growers through the GRDC, which is the industry partner in the Centre.

To get the message out, the Centre will employ a number of officers to conduct workshops and organise specialist training programs for advisers, both private consultants and government officers.

They will also oversee such projects as the distribution of insects to combat Salvation Jane/Paterson's Curse. The Centre's education and adoption programs will bring together information on all aspects of weed research and management and will eventually supply farmers with complete management packages.

Subprogram 3.3.02 Contact: Associate Professor Stephen Powles 08 303 6590