The National Farmers’ Federation is calling on a “smarter and more strategic” national approach to weeds after a new report found the agricultural cost of weeds is $4.8 billion per year, or $13 million a day.
The report, released by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions today found the cost of weeds had increased 20 per cent from the last comprehensive national economic analysis carried out in 2004.
National Farmers' Federation Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said there needed to be smarter national investment in research, development and extension solutions to manage weeds.
Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) Chief Executive Officer Andreas Glanznig said weed biocontrol was one such example.
"To build on the $10 billion worth of benefits weed biocontrol RD&E has delivered to agriculture to date, Australia needs a new 10+ year national program to generate an on-going pipeline of biocontrol agents after current key major projects wind up in 2020,” Mr Glanznig said.
A more strategic approach is in line with a request by the Federal Government for the CISS to develop a 10-year national investment plan for weeds RD&E, a draft of which is currently open for feedback.
“The new National Weeds RD&E Investment Plan will play a part in unlocking agricultural innovation - a priority in NFF's 2030 Roadmap - a plan for agriculture to achieve $100 billion in farmgate output by 2030," Mr Mahar said.
"A new national CISS weeds RD&E program will ensure new innovative tools are delivered on-farm, quicker, putting money back into the pockets of Australian farmers."
NRM Regions Executive Officer, Kate Andrews stressed the need for collaborative and strategic action on weeds to protect the environment and agriculture.
“Tomorrow’s weeds are already here, and we know that some 20 new weeds naturalise in the environment each year. That is 1 new weed every 18 days,” she said.
“We support a CISS National Weeds RD&E Investment Plan and welcome the Centre’s leadership in this space.”
Download the new weeds economic impact report here.