GRDC talks resistance

Dec. 2, 2023 | 5 Min read
Pesticide resistance poses challenges for effective pest management in agriculture. But imagine if, by knowing the exact enzymes that exist in a plant or insect, we could use a RAT-like test to determine if resistance is occurring and how it occurs?

Pesticide resistance poses challenges for effective pest management in agriculture. But imagine if, by knowing the exact enzymes that exist in a plant or insect, we could use a RAT-like test to determine if resistance is occurring and how it occurs?

Genomic researchers worldwide are making significant gains in identifying the genes involved in the various resistance mechanisms in different weeds and developing rapid tests for these genetic markers.

These scientific advances and more were the focus of the 2023 Crop Protection Forum in Adelaide recently.

This year’s forum was organised by the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) in partnership with the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) and Cesar Australia, with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

Presenting at the forum was Dr Todd Gaines, one of the world’s leading scientists in the genomics of herbicide resistance. Dr Gaines is an Associate Professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, USA, and is currently on secondment at AHRI.

Dr Gaines says the first step to opening the door to genomic solutions to herbicide resistance in the field is to describe the genome. Weed scientists have been busy describing the genome of 51 common weed species.

“Once the weed’s genome is mapped, researchers look for the specific mechanism responsible for herbicide resistance. Some resistance mechanisms involve a particular target site mutation, and sometimes, the mechanism is related to the regulation of genes in metabolic resistance,” Dr Gaines says.

Dr Gaines was one of an impressive line-up of researchers and agronomists speaking at the forum who shared emerging issues in broad-acre crops, providing the most up-to-date information across insecticide, fungicide and herbicide resistance research.

Two discussion panel sessions responded to concerns about management issues and ongoing regulatory pressures on existing chemicals.

The forum program covered a range of topics including resistance evolution, current and future resistance trends, and appropriate management strategies to minimise resistance risks.

GRDC senior manager crop protection Dr Emma Colson says a significant portion of the research presented at the forum represented outcomes from GRDC-invested projects.

“GRDC invests significantly into providing grain growers and advisers with resources and advice to best manage resistance in weeds, fungal pathogens and insect pests.

“It is important that our industry remains adequately informed and agile to respond to these ongoing challenges,” Dr Colson said.

Categories Agribusiness

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