organic farming norther australiaIn a recent article by Queensland Country Life, GRDC Chief Operating Officer Steve Thomas said given Australia’s entire farming system was driven by water, “weeds are our biggest problem”.

Speaking at the Herbicide Innovation Partnership lab launch last week in Frankfurt, Germany, Mr Thomas highlighted a report completed this year which estimated weeds cost the Australian grains industry $3.27 billion per year.

That total comprises $2.56b in weed control costs and $708m in crop yield and quality losses, he said.

“It (resistance) really translates down to a very significant cost to a grower in his or her system; ranging from about $103 per hectare up to $211 (per hectare) when you start to take into account the need to use either more or different and more costly herbicides for the control of herbicide resistance,” he said.

“Australian growers and growers across the world do a very good job of controlling weeds but it’s coming with a very high reliance on chemical control and this is particularly important in Australia where we retain stubble from one season to the next – we don’t plough and do minimum tillage.” Click here to read more.

However, with increasing consumer demand for organic produce mainly due to ongoing health concerns surrounding chemicals used in agriculture, is there another way to develop agriculture which is a ‘healthier’ and ‘more sustainable’ way of farming?

Some say this type of issue could be resolved and a greater quantity of produce could be grown more economically on organic vertical farms.

Although vertical farming is considered more as a component of urban agriculture, where water resources are sparse and weeds are an issue, it could be an option for development in northern Australia and elsewhere.

Vertical farming is said to be more economical and can use up to 95% less water than traditional methods and with less resources used, operations are more sustainable.

The Developing Northern Australia Conference Above the Line unleashing the north’s potential continues the dialogue started in 2015 following the release of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Speaking opportunities are available to interested parties wishing to address delegates at the Developing Northern Australia Conference. To apply to speak at the conference CLICK HERE.