Detection and management of African Lovegrass and other perennial grass weeds in the Monaro

Summary

Perennial grass weeds are major issue across most pastoral systems. In the Monaro (and across large swathes of grazing systems), African lovegrass is a weed that has had, and continues, to have serious impacts on pasture productivity. This is due to its highly invasive nature and ability to outcompete native and introduced grass species. This, combined with its low digestibility, has resulted in large parts of the Monaro being inundated with lovegrass and greatly reducing the productivity of affected areas.

Supervisor(s)

Dr Lachlan Ingram

Research Location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program Type

PHD

Synopsis

The three major objectives are:
1) Improving the early detection of ALG This component of the project will use drones equipped with both RGB and multi-spectral sensors to detect the location of ALG. As drones have a limited sphere of observation we will then attempt to link these results with freely available, remote-sensed images to allow much greater spatial and temporal detection.

2) Better understanding of the drivers of ALG spread. This part of the project will entail a survey of known ALG locations that will determine a range of soil (classification, physical and chemical attributes) and plant community characteristics (species present, abundance), along with previous management (extent of grazing, fertiliser use) history. This data will be overlayed on landscape characteristics (elevation, aspect, slope, etc) using GIS and climatic data and analysed to gain a better understanding of what drives the both presence and subsequent spread of ALG.

3) Management/Control strategies for ALG. While best management practices for ALG have been developed (NSW DPI 2018) success with these strategies varies greatly depending on many interacting factors including land history and value of the farm, soil, climate and health of pasture prior to infestation. A number of landholders in each region will have statistically robust studies established on sites that have ALG present that will apply three commonly used control strategies: 1) slashing, 2) roller wiping with glyphosate, and 3) broadcast and/or spot spraying of herbicide (glyphosate/flupropanate). In addition, control methods that landholders they believe might be effective in the control of ALG would be incorporated in the trial (i.e., burning, grazing at specific times, etc) on the basis that methods that farmers are best able to undertake and that can be shown to work are those that are most likely to be undertaken.

Additional Information

A necessary requirement of this project will the holding of a current NSW drivers license. While the project will be predominantly based in the Monaro region of southern NSW, research is also likely to be undertaken in other parts of NSW.

HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Keywords

Weeds, pasture production, Management

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2497

Other opportunities with Dr Lachlan Ingram