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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Canola’s a better crop plant than a weed

Tag Archives | mechanisms

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Canola’s a better crop plant than a weed

If our crop plants persisted in Australian bushland, our remnant vegetation would now be overrun with wheat, barley, canola, lupins, lentils (etc. etc.). Fortunately, this isn’t the case. Some recent research by Dr Roberto Busi confirmed that transgenic canola (Roundup Ready®) can persist in bushland, but only for three years. After this time, the insects, rabbits, competition and disease got the better of it and it died out. Road verges, on the other hand, are a different story. GM canola can persist on road verges largely because they are sprayed with glyphosate, killing all of the competition, allowing glyphosate tolerant…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Glyphosate resistant brome – gene amplification

Two years ago, a meeting was held in Australia to gather researchers who study weed, pest and disease resistance to see what they could learn from each other. There was a mind-blowing moment when an entomologist realised that the P450 enzymes he had been studying that gave resistance to an insecticide were the same as those that a weed researcher was studying that caused resistance to a herbicide (well… we thought it was mind-blowing. But then again, we’re weeds geeks!). Some new research by Jenna Malone, Chris Preston and others from the University of Adelaide weed research team have found…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Heal thy soil, heal thy crops, kill thy weeds

Have you ever played a game of competitive sport when you’re sick? Then you’ll know you simply can’t compete at your best (except if you’re cricketer Dean Jones. Then you’d score 210 while violently ill during a test match in India in 1986 – legend). Crops growing in unhealthy soil can’t compete with weeds. To make matters worse, the unhealthy soil doesn’t seem to affect the weeds as much as it affects the crop. This makes a lot of sense, but there’s been limited research data to support this assumption. Until now. Acid soil is fine if you want to…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Recipe for success

Life Give everything you’ve got Repeat daily Glyphosate resistant awnless barnyard grass High glyphosate rate Small plants Low temperature (if possible) Double knock when it’s hot Annual ryegrass is Australia’s glyphosate resistance champion. The runner up is awnless barnyard grass (in terms of the number of populations). Glyphosate resistance was first confirmed in awnless barnyard grass in 2007 in northern NSW, and it has gone gangbusters ever since. AHRI researcher Heping Han recently teamed up with Michael Widderick (QDAF) to learn a little more about this weed. They discovered that the mechanism for resistance is the Proline 106 mutation. On…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

How to beat unfit weeds

How good would it be to turn up to play a game of football or hockey (or whatever your sport) against a team that you know is 30% less fit than your team? It’s a walk up start. As you watch them eat their pre-game pie and smoke their pre-game cigarette, you know that the odds are stacked in your favour.     AHRI researchers recently discovered that some resistant weeds are not very fit. In fact, in this case, the most resistant weeds are the least fit. The 1781 mutation in ryegrass causes moderate clethodim resistance, and high level ‘fop’…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Wild oat – always the bridesmaid

Wild oat is the Yohan Blake of weeds. Yohan is an amazing sprinter, but unfortunately for him, his Jamaican training partner Usain Bolt is faster. Wild oat is a significant resistant weed, but it’s no annual ryegrass. AHRI researcher, Dr Roberto Busi recently showed that repeated use of low doses of Hoegrass® caused only a minor (2 fold) shift towards resistance in wild oat. When Dr Paul Neve did a similar study in 2005, three low doses of Hoegrass® caused 40 fold resistance in annual ryegrass. Annual ryegrass is the world champ of herbicide resistance, and while weeds such as…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Simazine resistant silver grass

When Airbus delivered the first A380 aircraft in 2008 they were very proud of the fact that it was the quietest commercial airliner ever produced. The unintended consequence of this, however, was that it led to a worse experience for passengers as more unpleasant noises (e.g. crying babies, snoring passengers, flushing toilets) were elevated in the quieter cabin. Back to the drawing board! They actually engineered some sound back into the cabin by piping in ambient noise. When ConsultAg agronomist Garren Knell tackled a high ryegrass seedbank with one of his clients in southwest Western Australia 12 years ago, they…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Nature mimics science

The Wright brothers spent a lot of time observing the curved shape of bird’s wings and how air flowing over this curved shape caused lift. This is one of the great examples of science mimicking nature. Does nature ever mimic science? One of the first glyphosate tolerant crops was GA21 Corn. This corn cultivar was created by molecular biologists in the lab. It contained the so called TIPS mutation which gave it glyphosate tolerance. The TIPS mutation had never been observed in nature until recently when AHRI PhD scholar, Adam Jalaludin, and AHRI researcher Dr Qin Yu, discovered it in…

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Farm paddock

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Waste

Most of us don’t pour Grange Hermitage red into our lamb shank casserole. And many of us don’t waste the good beer on the visitors (did you know that VB stands for visitors beer?). But most Australian grain growers are wasting the world’s greatest herbicide on the least productive part of the farm. A ‘super group’ of weed scientists and a leading grain grower formed at the recent Perth Agribusiness Crop Updates to discuss glyphosate resistance in a two hour long focus session. Surveying the audience provided some interesting results – 47% of them were wearing black underpants, and half had…

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Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

The north face of the Eiger

The mile of vertical limestone and ice that makes up the north face of the Eiger is the ultimate challenge for many mountain climbers, not necessarily due to its complexity, but because of the commitment. Once embarked on the ascent, that’s it, there is no turning back. Mountain climbers are a little different to most – they love to choose the most difficult path. Target site herbicide resistance is well understood because it is relatively easy to research, and the mutations often endow high levels of herbicide resistance. Metabolic herbicide resistance, on the other hand, is much more difficult to…

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