WA WeedSmart Week showcases progress

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Attendees at WA WeedSmart week

(From left) Ben Fleet from the University of Adelaide, Dr Peter Boutsalis from Plant Science Consulting, DAFWA’s Dr Catherine Borger and AHRI director Professor Stephen Powles spoke at the WA WeedSmart Week forum in Perth.

PHOTO: Cox Inall Communications

The experiences of Western Australian growers, researchers and advisers in managing major cropping weeds, diseases, and herbicide and fungicide resistance were showcased at WA WeedSmart Week in August.

Among the delegates were 30 growers and industry stakeholders from Victoria and New South Wales who were keen to learn more about weed and disease control measures being used in this state.

As part of the week, research update forums were held by partners in the industry-led WeedSmart initiative and the Curtin University-based Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), both supported by the GRDC.

The WeedSmart Week group then toured farms across the grainbelt, from Geraldton to Esperance, to see firsthand how weed and disease management strategies are being validated.

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) director Professor Stephen Powles opened the event, which he says was a great success in bringing industry together to share knowledge.

He says the national grains industry is making big inroads into better understanding weeds’ resistance evolution, mechanisms and management.

Image of the WeedSmart logo

WeedSmart logo

“Weeds are estimated to cost the Australian grains industry about $3.3 billion annually in lost yield and control measures,” Professor Powles says.“There are about 10 million hectares of cropping land with herbicide-resistant weeds, mostly annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) in WA and wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) across southern Australia, and multiple resistance is evolving.”

Professor Powles says this is a manageable problem that requires diversity in herbicide and cultural control tactics, such as the Australian innovation of harvest weed-seed capture and destruction.

He says in the next decade it is likely crop weed, disease, and insect and pest control measures will become even more diverse, potentially using spraying, seeding, sensing and robotic innovations.

CCDM fungicide resistance group leader Dr Fran Lopez-Ruiz told WeedSmart Week delegates that new methodologies are already enabling the centre’s researchers to better detect resistant mutations in major crop diseases, leading to quicker identification and management in the paddock.

“Understanding how fungicide resistance evolves enables us to minimise the impact of diseases on-farm and develop new ways to manage fungicide resistance,” he says.

More information:

Lisa Mayer, WeedSmart,
08 9488 7870,


Centre for Crop and Disease Management
Ground Cover Supplement – ‘Herbicide resistance’

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GRDC Project Code UWA00171, CUR00023

Region West