The launch of an industry-wide initiative to deal with herbicide resistance is a crucial part of Monsanto’s efforts to help farmers overcome the growing problem, the company said.

WeedSmart, an industry-wide initiative unveiled at the Global Herbicide Resistance Challenge in Perth last Friday, is the first education and extension program of its kind. It will arm farmers with the latest tools and resources to combat resistance and ensure the future value of herbicides to farmers.

Monsanto provided initial funds along with GRDC to kick-start this initiative and has been working with its partners over the past year to develop a campaign that would go a long way in helping farmers curb herbicide resistance.

Monsanto’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Daniel Kruithoff, said that acting now to stop the spread of herbicide resistance is a necessity.

“We risk losing the impressive productivity gains that herbicides have generated for farmers over many years if we don’t confront resistance head on.

“Although farmers are on the front line of this battle they cannot overcome resistance without the combined resources, knowledge and commitment of the agriculture industry.

“Monsanto has joined forces with key players across the industry to establish WeedSmart and provide farmers with the support they need on a scale that will make a difference,” Mr Kruithoff said.

Daniel also stressed that dealing with resistance is essential to improving farmer productivity which is so crucial to Australia’s hope of becoming Asia’s food bowl.

“Acting now will protect farmers from further costs and put them on a sound footing to capitalise on the demand for food and fibre in rapidly developing Asian markets.

“The launch of WeedSmart is just the beginning. Over the next 12 months the initiative will target the specific needs of cropping regions across the country and encourage industry to use WeedSmart to promote resistance management practices with farmers,” Mr Kruithoff said.

Central to this initiative is the campaign hub located at http://www.weedsmart.org.au/, containing specific resources for both advisors and growers in the northern, southern and western cropping regions.

WeedSmart also offers a smart phone app, available via the Apple App Store, that assists in determining a farm’s level of herbicide resistance risk and the effectiveness of weed seed bank management tactics.

The WeedSmart initiative involves the commitment of research and development organisations, advisors and agronomists, chemical companies, agribusiness and grower representative bodies who all share a common goal to safeguard the industry’s future.