The role and value of herbicide-resistant lupins in Western Australian agriculture

Herbicide resistant weeds are having a major impact on Australian agriculture. The most important of these is ryegrass (Lolium rigidum). In response to this new problem, "genetic engineering" techniques are being used to create new types of "transgenic" lupins which are resistant to non-selective herbicides to which the ryegrass is not resistant. In this study the economic value of such a herbicide-resistant lupin variety is investigated using a multiperiod bioeconomic model. The model represents a common cropping system of Western Australia in which winter crops of wheat and lupins are grown in alternate years. The ryegrass population is modelled as being completely resistant to traditionally-used selective herbicides. The net profits for a wide range of weed control measures (both chemical and non-chemical) used separately and in combination with a transgenic lupin were compared with the current options available to farmers. The best integrated strategy involving a transgenic, glufosinate, resistant lupin was found to have a similar profitability to a system based on current lupin varieties employing paraquat for in-crop spraying. However, if a glyphosate-resistant lupin were to be developed and used in conjunction with technology for physical collection or destruction of weed seeds, it was estimated that farm profits would increase by 33 percent.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-10-21

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