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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Blog: AHRI insight

Glasshouse with plants

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Susceptibility testing

Who uses cloth nappies (diapers) these days? Almost nobody. So how is it that the premium cloth nappy soaker, NapiSan, is still a successful product? The answer is that the company who make NapiSan cleverly repositioned their product as the premium laundry stain remover. We at AHRI are tired of being the bearers of bad news so we have decided it is time to reposition herbicide resistance testing services. Enter the new and improved “Susceptibility Testing” – it will tell us which herbicides will work next year rather than those that won’t, and shows us where to focus our efforts…

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Man in growth area

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Action stations

“To take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime, we must act in the lifetime of the opportunity” -James T Valvano. Valvano was the coach of the NC state basketball team in 1983 who were the unlikely winners of the title in the dying seconds of the game. In summing up the recent WSSA Summit on herbicide resistant weeds in Washington DC last week, Dr Harold Coble relived being at the game and said “this may be the opportunity of a lifetime, to work together to get herbicide resistant weeds under control”. The USA have taken the title from Australia…

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Chaff cart

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Spoiled rotten

Kids these days, they are spoiled rotten. “We used to get up in the morning at half past ten at night, half an hour before we’d gone to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work 29 hours down mill and pay the mill owner for permission to come to work. And you tell that to the young people of today and they won’t believe you.” – Monty Python Farmers these days, they are spoilt for choice when it comes to harvest weed seed control options. There are now five commercially available tools to remove weed seeds at harvest with…

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Ryegrass growing boxes on tables

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Think global

Herbicides are as important to global food production as antibiotics are to human health” – Professor Stephen Powles. Humanity has faced some major challenges in the past and has always met these challenges through innovation. The extremely infectious and deadly smallpox virus plagued people for centuries and yet by 1980 we had eradicated it on a global scale. The innovation? A newly perfected vaccine, and a huge, worldwide collaborative effort. But while smallpox is gone, herbicide resistance lives on and as AHRI Director Stephen Powles believes, it is posing a huge threat to global food security. Our population is exploding…

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Plants in pots

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

How fit are you?

Within the AHRI research team we have a range of fitness levels. At one end of the scale we have Dr Roberto Busi, winner of the Perth marathon for two years running. Further down the scale we have Professor Stephen Powles who recently put his back out watching the World Cup final on television! Resistant weeds also have a range of fitness levels. In some cases, the resistance mechanism weakens the plant and it doesn’t grow quite as well as it once did. In other cases, the resistant plants are just as fit as their susceptible counterparts. Palmer amaranth in…

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Triple disc of machine for agriculture

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Never mix trifluralin and…

Mum – ‘blue and green should never be seen’ Wife – ‘never mix swirls and stripes’ Dad – ‘never drink on an empty stomach’ Sam Kleemann – ‘never mix trifluralin and a single disc seeder’. It will come as no surprise to many that researcher Sam Kleemann from the University of Adelaide found that trifluralin gave poor ryegrass control and reduced crop establishment when wheat was sown with a single disc opener in three trials between 2008 and 2012. Some growers favour single disc, zero till seeding because the lack of soil disturbance may reduce weed emergence. Sam observed this…

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Fluridone Seeds

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Proof of Concept

What has pure research ever done for us? In 1974, physicist John O’Sullivan developed a mathematical tool to detect black holes. He didn’t find the black holes, but nearly twenty years later while working at CSIRO in Australia, he used this research to develop Wi-Fi. CSIRO went on to receive royalty payments of hundreds of millions of dollars for this unexpected consequence of early, pure research. AHRI researcher Dr Danica Goggin works at the pure research level and she has also made an unexpected discovery. Danica was using an aquatic herbicide, Fluridone, to break dormancy and stimulate ryegrass germination. This is…

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Researcher in field

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Sow west young man

“Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country”. Horace Greeley, 1865. Horace believed that going west to fertile farm land would be the answer to poverty and unemployment in the USA. Sowing west could be part of the answer to weed management. There is a new kid on the block in the competition between crops and weeds, and the best thing about it is that it is FREE! East-west sowing is…

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Ryegrass growing boxes on tables

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Break the glyphosate habit

We are creatures of habit. For some reason I always buy Colgate toothpaste, the other brands don’t even get a look in. Mrs Marsh was just so trustworthy and I daren’t use another brand for fear of my teeth falling out. Similarly, when it comes to knockdown herbicides, most growers automatically reach for the glyphosate. Such a reliable, brilliant herbicide that rarely lets them down. But this year may be the first year that glyphosate fails for many Australian grain growers as resistance to this herbicide is going through the roof in some areas. Random surveys of WA by AHRI…

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Weeds sample in glass

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Turning up resistance genes

When you drink alcohol, it is broken down by P450 enzymes. This is one of the processes by which your body detoxifies the alcohol so it doesn’t kill you. We all have these enzymes, although some of us have more than others – which is why some people are a cheap date, while others are not so. In AHRI, we have known for some time that P450 genes are involved in metabolic herbicide resistant ryegrass, but we had no idea which genes were responsible, or how they were inherited from one generation to the next. Until now. AHRI researcher Todd…

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