Weeds threaten the sustainability of New Zealand’s primary production sectors by reducing product yields, quality and profitability, and through environmental impacts from control methods.
Pastoral weeds, for example, are estimated to cost the New Zealand economy $1.2b per annum ($1.0b in farm production losses + $0.2b in control costs) and can substantially reduce farm profit (e.g. $1,000/ha for giant buttercup on a typical dairy farm in Golden Bay).
The Pest & Weed Management Team is the primary provider of productive-sector weed research in New Zealand.
The Team is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, other central government funding agencies, and a wide range of industry organisations and regional and district councils. It conducts research ranging from basic science aimed at understanding how weed populations change in space and time through to more applied research. This broad approach is enabling a better understanding of the economic consequences of weeds and their management. It also provides the underpinning knowledge for the development of novel weed management technologies such as biological herbicides and decision-making models for managing weeds at various scales from national and regional levels to individual farms.
Collaboration with scientists from New Zealand Universities, other CRIs and overseas research organsiations, and the supervision and training of post-graduate students, are important elements of the Team's work.