Australia’s Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) has signed a deal with global chemical giant Bayer to bring new herbicides and pesticides to local farms.

The five-year agreement will see the GRDC and Bayer join forces to establish the Herbicide Innovation Partnership, which will provide growers with new technologies to manage resistant weeds and support modern crop production systems.

The cooperation also includes a post-doc program that will provide training in advanced industrial research techniques for Australian researchers.

“Increasing weed resistance to major herbicide classes is endangering broadacre crop production on a global level”, said Axel Trautwein, Head of Small Molecules Research at Bayer CropScience.

“New weed control solutions are a priority for our research. The challenges to solve those problems are too large for one company, university or even country. We need a network of partners with complementary specialisations. This cooperation with GRDC and Australian universities is an excellent example of such a global network that will deliver real benefits to Australian agriculture and beyond.”

As part of the deal, GRDC will put funds into the extension of research capacities at the Bayer CropScience global centre for weed control research in Frankfurt, Germany.

About 40 additional researchers – a significant number of them to be recruited in Australia – will boost the abilities in Frankfurt to identify and explore advanced technologies.

“In Australia alone, it is estimated farmers lose more than AUD$3 billion per year due to resistant and poorly controlled weeds,” said Richard Clark, Chairman at GRDC.

“We see this as an important opportunity to tackle this challenge and put Australian farms at the forefront of this exciting cooperation. We want to add as many tools to the integrated weed management toolbox as possible”

“This partnership reaffirms GRDC’s commitment to improving grower profit as its highest priority.

“It’s important because a healthy, profitable grains industry is not just in the best interests of our growers; it’s in the best interest of all Australians.”