The primary focus for weed research in this group is weed ecology and plant competition as the basis for designing appropriate and effective weed management strategies, which place less reliance on herbicides. Research projects are spread across the grains, cotton, horticultural and pastoral industries of northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland.
Since 2012 we have been leading research in the sub-Antarctic funded by the Australian Antarctic Division in the ecology and management of invasive weeds, with particular focus on Australia’s Macquarie Island.
The first project is on the ecology and management of invasive Poa annua (winter grass). The second project, which commenced in 2015, examines changes in the ecology and control of introduced non-native plants following pest herbivore eradication in the sub-Antarctic, with a particular focus on Stellaria media (chickweed).
There are only three alien plant species on Macquarie Island currently, with Poa annua being the most widespread and common. It and Stellaria media seem to be well adapted to disturbance caused by human activity, wildlife and landslips. What will happen to these palatable weeds following the removal of rabbits is part of the subject of our investigations. Moreover, we aim to investigate the ecology of these weeds, including their seedbanks, longevity and relationships to environmental factors as well as the effectiveness of various management practices including herbicides and their environmental fate.
Our research program assesses the current impact and management of weeds on the Australian vegetable industry; research, development and extension priorities; and potential improvements to integrated weed management for Australian horticulture.
A recently completed joint project of the University of New England and CSIRO, which sought to reduce the impact of fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) on grazing industries and biodiversity in Australia.
View publications list of the weed science group.
Australian Weed Management Systems
This textbook, edited by Professor Brian Sindel, provides the principles to help the reader manage weeds effectively and economically.
Weeds Education Resources for Schools
The following resources were developed through the education program of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Australian Weed Management and the University of New England.
Misbehaving plants is a big book with an introduction to weeds, a narrative story, a cartoon strip and factual information describing weeds. It was developed in consultation with experienced lower primary/infants teachers. While the book was developed for early stage teachers, the content and lesson activities suit a range of abilities, making it appropriate for a wider range of primary classrooms.
Lord of the Weeds was a report-writing competition for high school students, including resources such as suggested lesson activities, student proformas to guide students through writing the report, marking guide and appropriate contacts for teachers to use. This way, finding a weedy site in the school or local area became the only difficult thing to do.
Ghastly guests is an upper primary unit of work that investigates weeds with links to the curriculum in each state and territory of Australia. The unit includes suggested lesson activities with accompanying worksheets and teacher resources.
Weed Wipeout is an interactive game where the player is in a position of managing a farm with weed problems. The player is required to make decisions regarding the most appropriate weed management strategy, and then discovers the results of these decisions. Humorous and unexpected events appear, keeping the job at hand interesting. Who will be wiped out, you or the weeds?
- ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research)
- AusAID (Australian Agency for International Development)
- Cotton RDC (Cotton Research and Development Corporation)
- CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
- DAFF (Australian Government Department of Agriculture)
- GRDC (Grains Research and Development Corporation)
- HIA (Horticulture Innovation Australia)
- NSW DPI (New South Wales Department of Primary Industries)
- Qld DAFF (Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry)
- Vic DEPI (Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries)
- RIRDC (Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation)
For further information about weed science research at UNE, please contact:
Professor Brian Sindel
Phone: +61 2 6773 3747