Science innovation targets pests and weeds

25 May 2017

A wild dog in the bush looks at the camera

Seven innovative NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) projects to better manage significant weeds and animal pests have been funded through the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

NSW DPI invasive species research leader, John Tracey, said the new projects would share a $10.5 million funding injection for 23 national projects, which will deliver new or improved control tools and technologies to farmers and land managers.

“Invasive weeds and pest animals reduce agricultural productivity, damage our environment and degrade natural resources - this funding recognises the results NSW DPI researchers have achieved in addressing these issues,” Dr Tracey said.

“Pest animals cost Australia an estimated $620 million a year in production losses and weeds cost an estimated $4 billion a year in control costs and production losses.”

NSW DPI projects will focus on reducing impacts of significant weed and animal pests by:

  • Improving detection methods of multiple pest animals and weeds through the use of thermal and 4K imaging technologies
  • Developing a DNA barcode-based tool for rapid on-site identification of Chilean needle grass and serrated tussock grass
  • Coupling computer vision recognition of pest animals with automated pest control actions in a remote recognition and response device
  • Designing e-Technology Hub – Intelli-Traps, which use new generation technology to improve pest management effectiveness and enhance welfare outcomes in partnership with Invasive Animals Ltd
  • Biological control and advances in management of Noogoora burr in partnership with the Cotton Research and Development Corporation
  • Prevention of seed set of weedy tree species in partnership with MidCoast Council and Hunter Local Land Services, and
  • Reducing Chilean needle grass seed banks using essential oil products

Funding from the Control Tools and Technologies for Established Pest Animals and Weeds Programme is a $50 million four-year investment as part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government's plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.

Australian Government funding of $20 million to develop a new Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, which will work towards developing new tools and resources for pest animal and weed control has also been announced.

Media contact: Bernadette York (02) 6938 1664, 0427 773 785