News

Weeds cost agriculture billions

By Country News

A report released by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions has found that the agricultural cost of weeds is on average, $4.8 billion per year, or $13 million a day.

National Farmers’ Federation chief executive officer Tony Mahar said the figure was up 20 per cent from the last comprehensive national economic analysis carried out in 2004.

‘‘The cost of weeds to farmers’ back pockets is growing and we need smarter, more strategic national investment in research, development and extension solutions to manage them,’’ Mr Mahar said.

Centre for Invasive Species Solutions chief executive officer Andreas Glanznig said weed bio-control was one such example.

‘‘To build on the $10 billion worth of benefits weed bio-control RD&E has delivered to agriculture to date, Australia needs a new 10-plus year national program to generate an ongoing pipeline of bio-control agents after current key major projects wind up in 2020,’’ Mr Glanznig said.

A more strategic approach is in line with a request by the Federal Government for the centre to develop a 10-year national investment plan for weeds research, development and extension, a draft of which is currently open for feedback.

‘‘The new National Weeds RD&E Investment Plan will play a part in unlocking agricultural innovation, a priority in NFF’s 2030 Roadmap, a plan for agriculture to achieve $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030,’’ Mr Mahar said.

To download the new weeds economic impact report, visit: www.invasives.com.au/our-publications

■To view the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions’ draft weeds investment plan, visit: www.invasives.com.au/weeds-rde-feedback