Digital innovation helping to better detect and manage pests

Pest management aided by digital innovation

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Feral pigs are among the pests being looked at in new projects by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. Photo by Brian Boyle.

Feral pigs are among the pests being looked at in new projects by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. Photo by Brian Boyle.

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The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions is ramping up its work to eradicate and control pest populations in Australia.

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The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions is ramping up its work to eradicate and control pest populations in Australia, thanks to almost $6 million in government and industry support.

The CISS received $2.75 in funding as part of the federal government's $20 million commitment to pest management, as well as $2.99 million of in-kind financial support from universities, state governments and industry bodies.

The money is going towards accelerating research and innovation to progress national registration of Eradicat - an effective feral cat toxic bait, developing new biocontrol and genetic technologies for pest fish, developing improved thermal and acoustic technology to detect pests, as well as fostering uptake of best practice feral and wild deer management through a new national feral and wild deer management coordinator.

CISS chief executive Andreas Glanznig said together, pest animals and weeds cost Australian farmers more than $5.5 billion per year in lost productivity and management costs and had a major impact on hundreds of nationally-listed threatened species.

"It is imperative that we continue to develop new tools and technologies to tackle these national problems," Mr Glanznig said.

"This investment will see Australia strengthen our biosecurity system and accelerate high tech innovation to ensure new and emerging pest threats are kept out.

"CISS is bringing together the brightest minds from universities, government agencies and commercial companies across Australia to ensure we will get new tools on ground quicker and more effectively, which will mean less impact of invasive species on farmers back pockets."

He said there were some exciting projects in the works.

"Two new projects delivered by the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development are dedicated to improving pest animal detection techniques using acoustic detection and automated thermal imagery methods," he said.

"Two new projects led by the CSIRO and South Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regions respectively will establish new tools and technologies to combat pest animal problems, including national registration of a feral cat toxin, Eradicat, and research to evaluate the feasibility of tilapia biocontrol agents.

"These projects will build on and accelerate the work of the previously funded biocontrol and genetic technology projects.

"A new national feral deer management coordinator role will also be appointed to facilitate coordinated and best practice deer management within Australia, which is an important addition to pest animal coordination in Australia."

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Mr Glanznig said through the investment, the CISS was also boosting weeds research, development and extension collaborations within Australia to ensure new solutions and resources were developed to reduce lost productivity to farmers' back pockets.

"A new project led by the University of Adelaide is exploring innovative ways to monitor e-commerce and other online platforms for illegal trade of invasive declared plants, ensuring our next weed problem is not purchased online," he said.

"This investment ensures our national research collaboration stays on track to deliver new genetic surveillance techniques, biocontrol agents and improved digital technologies to empower cooperative community led pest animal management."

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