Central Queensland will be one of the big winners from a $6.2 million grant to the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) to research ways of stamping out weeds that hurt agricultural profitability.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the R&D project would target ten pest weed species that collectively cost our agriculture sector more than $400 million each year.
Minister Joyce made the announcement in Gladstone, and said the funding came under round two of the Rural Research and Development for Profit Programme.
“RIRDC will lead the weeds biocontrol project, in collaboration with more than 20 partner organisations including CSIRO, to develop solutions to manage the impact of pest weeds on agricultural profitability across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia,” Minister Joyce said.
“The project aims to develop biocontrol solutions for a number of weed species and reduce control costs for farmers and landholders by bringing together biocontrol expertise from Australian and international research agencies.”
Targeted weed species are: giant rat’s tail grass, prickly acacia, mother-of-millions, fleabane, sowthistle, silverleaf nightshade, African boxthorn, ox-eye daisy, cabomba, and sagittaria.
Federal Member for Flynn, Ken O’Dowd, said the funding was great news for local farmers, graziers and landholders.
“By targeting these pest weeds, we are helping farmers, graziers and the wider community by improving agricultural output and productivity,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“Weeds like giant rat’s tail grass and Prickly Acacia wreak havoc across the region every year, costing landholders millions in lost productivity and extermination costs. Getting rid of them can be very labour intensive and a slow, expensive process. This research funding will help our landholders get ahead in the battle against weeds.
“Gladstone Regional Council’s contribution of $10,000 towards the project to specifically target control measures for giant rat’s tail is appreciated, and an indicator of the importance of the project.”
Minister Joyce said the government had delivered $52 million for R&D grants in round two projects.
“The focus of this round is on the areas of advanced technology, biosecurity, soil, water and managing natural resources. We are also looking to promote industry and on-farm adoption of R&D, to ensure benefits are realised at the farmgate,” Minister Joyce said.
“The funding goes to RDCs, who partner with one or more groups, which could include research agencies, universities, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups, or not-for-profit organisations on projects that will deliver real benefits on the farm.
“The R&D for Profit Programme is a $100 million election commitment, with the government investing a further $100 million as part of the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to extend the programme to 2021–22.
“This is on top of $700 million the government already invests in rural R&D each year.
“Through this funding support the government is helping ensure our farmers have access to the most cutting-edge research, technology, products and processes so they remain world-class.”