Weeds Research Development and Engagement Portfolio

What we do

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is Australia’s largest provider of innovative and world class rural research, development and engagement

We are committed to:

  • innovation in primary industries to improve resilience and boost productivity
  • managing risks for natural resources, farming and food
  • developing people and research excellence
  • building the capacity of our partner organisations.

We have a team of world-leading scientists working on collaborative, integrated weed management projects to support these commitments. We provide innovative approaches to challenges posed by climate change and biosecurity risks such as herbicide resistance.

Our work is targeted at industry and community needs, and delivers to the highest standards of national and international scientific excellence.

For weeds, our strength lies in our ability to deploy industry-leading experts at all stages of the research, development and engagement process. We work to realise the vision that the economy, environment and community of NSW are protected from the adverse impacts of weeds through:

  • prevention and detection of weeds
  • mitigating adverse impacts of weeds
  • adoption and community engagement in relation to weeds
  • enhancing the skills of invasive species professionals.

Our long-established local, regional, state, national and international partnerships provide evidence of our solid track record for delivering applied research outcomes for aquatic and terrestrial environmental systems, and the cropping and grazing industries.

Our team delivers outcomes that are showcased in peer-reviewed publications, best practice extension materials and long-term demonstration and field sites. Further, we are leaders in behaviourally effective engagement activities and evaluations for best practice management training and adoption.

We specialise in risk mitigation and rapid response to new incursions

Our team’s expertise supports national and state weed eradication programs and rapid responses to new weed incursions by:

  • developing, applying and refining cutting edge tools that include a mix of biological, cultural and chemical methodologies, use of detector dogs, robotics and drones for remote sensing, machine learning for plant image recognition, and in-field DNA test kits for species recognition
  • developing online biosecurity response platforms such as the WID (Weeds Information Database), which supports WIDX (Weeds Information Database External), the Biosecurity Information System (BIS Weeds) for mapping and the WRM (Weed Risk Management System)
  • training local government representatives and other stakeholders in early detection and response reporting and use of best practice
  • providing post border risk assessment and risk management approaches that support appropriate investment of resources.

We know how to manage weeds across systems

We specialise in best practice control and management of national and state priority weeds through:

  • biological, cultural, and chemical control methods based on weed biology, ecology and agronomic practices
  • molecular research for weed species identification, population differentiation, understanding pathways of invasion and origin, weediness and detection of herbicide resistance
  • applied behavioural science to increase and evaluate levels of adoption in our target audiences.

We enhance weed management through:

  • maintaining strong linkage to growers and our industry partners
  • developing and maintaining strong partnerships with delivery organisations such as local government and Local Land Services
  • understanding barriers and drivers to weed control
  • developing strategies that reduce the barriers and enhance the benefits of controlling weeds
  • providing information resources and training on best practice management.

We work across weed biological control research, delivery and extension

Starting with native range surveys and host specificity testing, we take biological control agents through to mass rearing, release and monitoring.

We lead the NSW Weed Biocontrol Taskforce and are members of the national technical group with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. These important roles fast track movement of biological control agents through the delivery pipeline, and allow us to:

  • have continued access to new biocontrol solutions
  • maintain networks of stakeholders primed to release biocontrol agents
  • have a cross jurisdictional shared investment funding model
  • assess the effectiveness of our programs through new monitoring techniques (such as drone technology to measure agent impact).

Our tools are adopted

We know how to drive engagement

We use behaviourally effective methods and digital platforms to deliver research outcomes. We use internationally recognised methods such as the Community-Based Social Marketing framework to deliver behaviour-modified strategies that improve the management of priority weeds.

We develop behaviourally effective information systems using custom software and motivational messaging (e.g. the NSW WeedWise web and smartphone applications).

Our facilities support us at the cutting edge

Key researchers, developers and engagers are based at our research facilities at Glen Innes, Grafton, Narrabri, Orange, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and Wollongbar. These provide:

  • permanent field sites for measuring long term interactions and impacts
  • on-farm trials with strong links to farmer networks
  • field demonstration sites for extension and training with strong links to communities and grower groups
  • modern laboratories and glasshouses
  • Commonwealth approved insect containment quarantine facilities for weed biological control agents
  • mass rearing facilities for biological control agents.

We continue to grow and invest in our facilities. Further biocontrol quarantine and mass rearing facilities and molecular laboratories are currently under construction. This will increase the capacity of NSW DPI weed research.