Global Agriculture

Crop protection forum to explore frontiers of pesticide resistance

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27 November 2023, AU: Leading scientists will come together to share the latest scientific advances to help manage the increasing incidences of pesticide resistance in agriculture at the 2023 Crop Protection Forum in Adelaide next month.

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 will be the focus of the 2023 Crop Protection Forum in Adelaide on December 6.

This year’s forum is 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 will be 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 is one of an impressive line-up of researchers and agronomists speaking at the forum who will share emerging issues in broad-acre crops, providing the most up-to-date information across insecticide, fungicide and herbicide resistance research.

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

Director of AHRI, Professor Ken Flower, says “we look forward to hearing from national and international experts in the field of pesticide resistance to discuss local challenges and explore pathways to more profit and fewer pests.”

The forum program will cover 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,” Dr Colson says.

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

Tickets to the 2023 Crop Protection Forum are $160, $100 (students) or $80 (live-stream). The ticket price for those attending in person includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea with a sundowner at the end of the day. Access to the recordings post-event is provided to all attendees.

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