New projects help Australian farmers with fight against pests

Farmers will now be able to fight against pest animals more effectively, with the help of new projects launched by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. 

The 21 new research, development and extension projects will look at better ways of preventing, detecting and managing pest animals, including through the use of DNA.

Australian minister for agriculture David Littleproud said the government was contributing $20 million to the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions to help fund the projects.

“Farmers face huge costs, productivity losses and the spread of diseases at the hands of pests and weeds and keep fighting to stop them in their tracks. 

READ: Farming together study helps set higher milk price 

“The 21 projects target pest animals in particular and will look at new management tools, better strategic decision making as well as community engagement and education,” said Littleproud. 

“One project worth $1.84m will look at building a machine to test samples of water to identify traces of pest animal DNA in rapid time out in the field. This technology would help track down pests hiding below the surface like the Asian black-spined toad and red-eared slider turtle,” he said. 

“A $7.5m project will investigate how effective viruses are in managing pest rabbits. This will help inform the timing of virus release for maximum results and ensure we continue to get value out of the calicivirus virus. 

“Another project worth $4.2m will look at how to cost effectively manage deer by looking at their behaviour. Deer are an emerging threat in Australia and we need to understand their role in spreading diseases such as foot and mouth disease,” said Littleproud. 

The centre is also developing a 10-year plan to identify the priority areas in Australia’s war against weeds.