The development of an artificially intelligent weapon to help in the fight against Australia’s $5 billion weed scourge will receive $1.97 million in Liberal and Nationals Government backing.
Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said a consortium led by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions was developing Australia’s first real-time weed identification app which could yield considerable benefits for farmers and the environment.
“Invasive weeds are a key threat to Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries—and our natural resources,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Weeds are also a major cost for farmers, impacting significantly on agricultural production value and of course, the risks posed by weeds can be exacerbated during drought.
“It’s important our government continues to invest in initiatives such as the National Landcare Program and in research and development to help farmers and Landcare groups manage weeds.
“I’m excited by the trailblazing work of the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions to produce Australia’s first real-time, easy to use automated identification app of national, state and regional priority weeds.
“The project will adopt the latest advances in technology including artificial intelligence and smart phone accessibility to identify weeds, including seedlings, to facilitate effective early control.
“This will be a particularly valuable tool, not only for farmers, but also for local councils, Landcare groups and natural resource management organisations. This work will help to support strong whole of community engagement on weed identification and control, including for those more invasive weeds of national significance.
“Our government is ready to help agriculture become a $100 billion industry by 2030 and we’ll do that in part through investing in innovative projects like this.”
The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions’ $1.97 million grant represents an Australian Government investment under the $57.5 million Smart Farming Partnerships program.