NovaChem > Industry News > 2013 > Co-operation key in glyphosate project

Co-operation key in glyphosate project

Published on 12/02/2013

Industry response to last year’s announcement that glyphosate resistant weeds had been identified in New Zealand for the first time has been positive and supportive, says Avoiding Glyphosate Resistance project leader Mike Parker from the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR).
Mr Parker says representatives from primary sectors as well as regional councils and roading authorities are working together to identify and deal with existing cases, and to develop strategies to minimise the number of new ones.
“Last year’s announcement has really been a timely reminder, and it is great to see all of these groups working together to find solutions to what is, potentially, a very serious issue. Glyphosate is environmentally benign and cost effective, and as such has become the most frequently used herbicide in New Zealand. If we were to lose it from the list of available products, farmers, councils and roadside managers would be looking at substantial environmental and financial impacts.”
Since the initial discovery of glyphosate resistant annual ryegrass on a vineyard in Marlborough, four more cases, also from Marlborough vineyards, have been confirmed by weed experts Kerry Harrington of Massey University and Trevor James of AgResearch. Dr James says the four latest cases were already being investigated last year, but that since December’s announcement more reports of weeds surviving glyphosate treatment have been coming in from all around New Zealand.
“All of these cases need to be investigated, although it is likely that many will be the result of application misses or errors, rather than resistance. When glyphosate is applied in the wrong conditions, or when spray penetration is insufficient to reach below canopy plants, this is counted as ‘glyphosate failure’.  A key part of our research project is the development of clear, sector-specific recommendations for the use of glyphosate. We hope that these Best Management Practices will reduce the number of glyphosate failures and also the number of cases of resistance, which is generally linked to overuse of the chemical.”
Dr James says that testing for resistance is currently taking around three months, as individual plants have to be transported to a quarantine laboratory, split into tillers, grown out, and then treated with varying rates of glyphosate. He says the Avoiding Glyphosate Resistance SFF project is funding a PhD project which is working to develop a quicker testing method, but this is likely to take some time, and may not be suitable for use in the field.
In the meantime, he recommends that anyone who suspects glyphosate resistance should re-spray the affected plant or plants, recording the rates of glyphosate used, and then, if the plant still survives, contact the project team for further information on how to submit plants for official testing.
The SFF Avoiding Glyphosate Resistance Project
The Ministry of Primary Industries SFF-funded Avoiding Glyphosate Resistance Project is bringing together representatives from a range of agricultural and horticultural industries, chemical companies and regional authorities to highlight the problem of glyphosate resistance and formulate and disseminate national and also sector-specific strategies for avoidance. It is led by Mike Parker of the Foundation of Arable Research.
Project co-funders include Foundation for Arable Research, DairyNZ, Vegetables Research and Innovation Board, Road Controlling Authority Forum NZ Inc., BASF, and Nufarm. In-kind assistance also comes from Waikato Regional Council.
For further information about glyphosate resistance and this project, please contact:
Mike Parker Anna Heslop
Project Leader  Communications Manager
Foundation for Arable Research                Foundation for Arable Research      
Telephone  021 960 078 Telephone  03 345 5783

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