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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Blog: AHRI insight

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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People in field

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Burning wet windrows

Ten years ago in WA we made a big song and dance about burning narrow windrows to destroy weed seeds and many grain growers jumped on board for the first time. You’ll never guess what happened! Summer rain, and plenty of it. When we came out of hiding (expecting to be lynched by farmers with burning torches) we were pleasantly surprised to find that the windrows actually burnt really well after they were given a couple of weeks to dry out. Another up-side was it was easy to keep the fire in the windrow. In 2011 when AHRI ran workshops…

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Wild radish flower

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Left jab, right hook

“Float like a butterfly sting like a bee – his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.” Muhammad Ali. A good boxer uses combinations of punches to beat his opponent. A good farmer uses diverse combinations to beat weeds. Herbicides and crop competition are the left jabs, harvest weed seed control is the right hook that delivers the knock-out blow. In 2008, AHRI researcher Dr Michael Walsh and colleagues published a paper showing that 2,4-D resistant wild radish could be controlled by 2,4-D if there was elevated wheat crop competition. This demonstrates that if weeds are noticeably affected but…

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Map

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Glyphosate resistant wild radish

Where were you when you first heard that Princess Dianna had died? Where were you when Glenn McGrath made 50 runs? And, where were you when you first heard that wild radish had evolved resistance to glyphosate? Ok, it’s not quite as big as Glenn McGrath making 50 (he made 61 in fact), but it is big news for Australian agriculture that will cause many of us to re-think how we use glyphosate in the future. Three glyphosate resistant wild radish populations were discovered by AHRI PhD scholar Mike Ashworth, all were from the northern wheatbelt of WA. Two populations…

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Gregor Mendel

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

When on a good thing…

My mother has brown eyes and my father and I have green eyes. How does that work? Answer, Mum was a heterozygote. No this is not some deadly disease, it simply means that on one chromosome she has the dominant gene for brown eyes, and on the other she has the recessive green / blue eye gene. Mendelian genetics explains how plants and animals inherit traits from their parents and has been used by AHRI researcher Dr. Roberto Busi to show why it is a good idea to rotate herbicides. This study showed that Sakura® (pyroxasulfone, Zidua® in U.S.A) resistance…

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