Bayer CropScience partners with Australian firm on weed control technologies

Bayer CropScience said Tuesday that it will team up with Australia-based Grains Research & Development Corp. (GRDC) to discover and develop new technologies to enable growers to manage resistant weeds and support the sustainability of modern crop production systems.

The five-year agreement, known as the Herbicide Innovation Program, also includes a postdoctorate program designed to help expand scientific know-how among Australian researchers through training in advanced industrial research techniques.

Bayer CropScience Small Molecules Research Head Axel Trautwein said that increasing weed resistance to major herbicide classes is endangering broad-acre crop production worldwide.

“New weed control solutions are a priority for our research, and the challenges to solve those problems are too large for one company, university or even country,” Trautwein said. “We need a network of partners with complementary specializations. This partnership with GRDC and Australian universities is an excellent example of such a global network that will deliver real benefits to Australian agriculture and beyond.”

GRDC will support the extension of capabilities at the Bayer CropScience global center of excellence for weed control research in Frankfurt, Germany. Approximately 40 researchers, a significant number of them from Australia, will be recruited to boost the center’s search for advanced technologies. A major focus will be the development of solutions to manage weed control problems, including ryegrass, wild radish, feathertop Rhodes grass and fleabane.

GRDC Chairman Richard Clark said it is estimated that Australian farmers lose more than $3 billion a year due to resistant and poorly controlled weeds.

“We want to add as many tools to the integrated weed management toolbox as possible,” Clark said. “This partnership reaffirms GRDC’s commitment to improving grower profit as its highest priority. It’s important because a healthy, profitable grains industry is not just in the best interests of our growers, it’s in the best interest of all Australians.”

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