A ‘killer capsule’ offering a safer, cheaper and more environmentally-friendly control method for Parkinsonia has the potential to change how the noxious woody weed is managed across northern Australia.
Developed by Professor Vic Galea & Dr Naomi Diplock at The University of Queensland, Di-Bak Parkinsonia capsules are manufactured by BioHerbicides Australia (BHA) and are now available commercially following Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) approval.
A National Weed of Significance, Parkinsonia heavily impacts the northern Australian cattle industry, as well as rangeland regions and wetlands throughout Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia at a cost of millions of dollars to landholders and all levels of government.
BHA Managing Director Peter Riikonen said the innovative new product comes in capsule form, containing a combination of naturally occurring fungal pathogens that kill the woody weed by inducing dieback disease.
“The capsules are inserted into the tree with an easy to use hand-held applicator that drills a hole, inserts the capsule and seals the hole with a plug – all in a matter of seconds,” Mr Riikonen said.
“Once in the stem, the capsule dissolves, releasing the biological agents into the vascular system of the tree, killing it from the inside,” he said.
“The process offers a direct hit on the weed while having minimal direct impact on the surrounding environment.
“For decades, chemicals or land clearing have been the main options available to landholders battling the spread of Parkinsonia. Our product offers an effective, cheaper and species-specific alternative.”
Di-Bak Parkinsonia was developed over fifteen years and trialled with cattle producers, government departments and NRM groups with support from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).
MLA’s Manager of Sustainable Feedbase Resources Cameron Allan said MLA is delighted that the product is now ready for use by Australian red meat producers.
“Weed control is challenging and costly, requiring multiple options across the country,” Mr Allan said.
“Di-Bak Parkinsonia is a tremendous example of researchers, producers, regional groups, the biocontrol industry and investors collaborating to develop an effective solution to tackle a multi-million dollar problem affecting grassroots producers.”