Free biocontrol workshop in Deniliquin targets weeds

Local farmers, land managers, council staff and residents interested in learning more about biocontrol options to manage weeds have been invited to a free workshop in Deniliquin on Thursday 23 February 2023.

The workshop is jointly hosted by Local Land Services and the NSW Department of Primary Industries to focus on how to use biocontrol agents as part of an integrated weed management plan and highlight the latest weed biocontrol research.

A special feature will be a field trip to inspect an infestation of the aquatic weed sagittaria or delta arrowhead (Sagittaria platyphylla) and the release of its biocontrol agent, the fruit-feeding weevil Listronotus appendiculatus.

NSW DPI weed biocontrol research leader, Andrew McConnachie, said host-specific natural enemies of plants can deliver long-term, sustainable and cost-effective control of some of NSW’s most damaging weeds.

“NSW DPI contributes to ongoing research to deliver biocontrol agents to help manage invasive weeds,” Dr McConnachie said.

“The collaborative program has delivered biocontrol agents for opuntioid cacti such as wheel cactus, prickly pear and Cylindropuntia spp., aquatic weeds, including sagiattaria, salvinia, water hyacinth, water lettuce, and climbing weeds, including Madeira vine and cat’s claw creeper.

“Our weed management program is now focusing on research and breeding programs for biocontrol agents to target ox-eye daisy, mother-of-millions, leaf cactus, privet and African lovegrass.”

In addition, the workshop will discuss widely dispersed and successful biocontrol agents for weeds, such as Paterson’s curse, St John’s wort and horehound.

Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) senior research scientist, Raelene Kwong, said the fruit-feeding weevil against sagittaria was released from quarantine last year following host specificity studies.

“In the next few years, once weevil populations build-up at local nursery sites across NSW and Victoria, weevils will be harvested for re-release at new sites,” Dr Kwong said.

This workshop is jointly funded by the NSW Government and the Australian Government.

More information is available here.

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