Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Testing ryegrass for herbicide resistance

Charles Sturt University (CSU) PhD graduate Dr Aaron Preston’s research is set to help grain growers control annual ryegrass, with a faster testing method for herbicide resistance.

Dr Aaron Preston“Annual ryegrass is the major weed in Australian farming systems costing farmers $96 million annually, with control primarily by herbicides,” Dr Preston said.

“This weed has evolved resistance to many herbicides making selection of an effective herbicide difficult.”

The research was carried out through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and involved the development of a genetic assay that detects resistance to multiple herbicides in a single test.

“Currently, identification of the resistant status of annual ryegrass weeds can take up to nine months,” Dr Preston said.

“This assay can provide answers within weeks of field observation, providing growers with greater opportunity to control the weeds in a timely manner and a new tool to combat resistance.”

Dr Preston’s research was supported by a CSU Postgraduate Research Scholarship and was supervised by Emeritus Professor Jim Pratley from CSU’s School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences.

Dr Preston is continuing to pursue his interest in weed research and is now working in the Southern Cropping Systems Unit at the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in Wagga Wagga.