Bayer CropScience partners with Australian university for resistant ryegrass project

Bayer CropScience recently announced a partnership with the University of Western Australia (UWA) to identify and inhibit genes responsible for metabolic resistance in annual ryegrass.

The Australian Research Council is funding the three-year, $1.1-million research program, which will be conducted by the UWA’s Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) and supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), as well as Bayer CropScience’s Weed Resistance Competency Center (WRCC) in Frankfurt, Germany.

Earlier this month, Bayer CropScience established a $45-million partnership with the (GRDC) to develop weed-control solutions for farmers.

AHRI Director and UWA Professor Stephen Powles said in some cases it is easy to determine how plants evolve resistance, and in other cases it is difficult.

“One of the most toughest nuts to crack is how ryegrass biochemically breaks down or metabolizes herbicides,’’ Powles said. “It is a major threat because if ryegrass breaks down herbicide modes of action that have not been discovered yet, we have problems. This is a very scary resistance mechanism.’’

Annual ryegrass is one of the key weeds in broad-acre crop production in Australia and worldwide. It is of particular concern because it has evolved simultaneous resistance against various herbicide classes, limiting weed-control options for farmers. This has been due to the degradation of the herbicides caused by the metabolic resistance phenomenon.

It is estimated Australian farmers lose more than $3 billion a year due to resistant and poorly controlled weeds.

Organizations in this Story

Australian Research Council Grains Research and Development Corporation University of Western Australia

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