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Bayer CropScience and the Grains Research and Development Corporation team up.

-  Weed resistance challenges growers’ profitability and sustainability
-  Partnership seeks to increase options for growers around the world to manage yield-robbing weeds

Bayer CropScience and the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) based in Australia have signed a five-year agreement to join forces to establish the Herbicide Innovation Partnership for the discovery and development of innovative weed management solutions. The major aim is to provide growers with new technologies to manage resistant weeds and support the sustainability of modern crop production systems. The partnership also includes a post-doc program which will help expand scientific know-how among Australian researchers by providing training in advanced industrial research techniques.
A substantial reduction in corporate investment for weed control research and development over recent decades has resulted in a gap in herbicide technology development. No new herbicide mode of action has been developed over the last 20 years, reducing grower choices to effectively manage resistant weeds. This development is challenging growers’ profitability and sustainability.

“Increasing weed resistance to major herbicide classes is endangering broadacre crop production on a global level”, said Axel Trautwein, Head of Small Molecules Research at Bayer CropScience. “New weed control solutions are a priority for our research. The challenges to solve those problems are too large for one company, university or even country. We need a network of partners with complementary specialisations. 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 research capacities at the Bayer CropScience global centre of excellence for weed control research in Frankfurt, Germany. About 40 additional researchers – a significant number of them to be recruited in Australia – will boost the abilities in Frankfurt to identify and explore advanced technologies. One major focus is to provide Australian agriculture with solutions to manage weed control problems including ryegrass, wild radish, feathertop rhodes grass and fleabane, though the research will benefit growers world-wide.

“In Australia alone, it is estimated farmers lose more than A$3 billion per year due to resistant and poorly controlled weeds. We see this as an important opportunity to tackle this challenge and put Australian farms at the forefront of this exciting partnership. We want to add as many tools to the integrated weed management toolbox as possible”, said Richard Clark, Chairman at GRDC. “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.”

In November 2014, Bayer CropScience inaugurated its weed resistance competence centre in Frankfurt to develop new weed control strategies, and share knowledge within the global community of farmers, agronomists and scientists. Now Bayer and GRDC are stepping up their efforts to rejuvenate the grower’s toolbox for integrated weed management by providing new mode of action herbicides and as well as safener technologies.

About GRDC The Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations, responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing RD&E to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.

The GRDC’s primary objective is to drive the discovery, development and delivery of world-class innovation to enhance the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Australian grain growers and benefit the industry and the wider community.

GRDC recognises that the control of weeds is a major driver of farm profitability. This is a priority area identified for investment by a majority of growers. GRDC currently has a significant intergrated weed management R&D portfolio, including support of the Australian Herbicide Resistance Iniative and numerous projects around the country.