Protecting our crops
While crops such as cereals, oilseeds and legumes provide exports worth more than A$6 billion to Australia, growers spend several hundred million dollars each year controlling pests, diseases and weeds.
We are helping protect crops by investigating plant defences and the tactics pests and diseases use to overcome these defences.
Our scientists are developing and using the latest genetic techniques to gain a better understanding of disease function. They are applying their expertise in molecular biology, plant physiology, agronomy and innovative gene technology to understand both sides of the plant-pathogen and plant-pest interaction.
Approaching pest, disease and weed problems through local research and international collaborations is part of our commitment to future food security, agricultural sustainability and healthy environments for Australia.
Fighting the global threat of cereal rust disease
Our research is preventing crop losses, improving grain quality and yields for Australian grain growers.
Boosting cowpea yield with biotechnology
We are developing high-yielding modern cowpea varieties by combining insect-resistance with enhanced photosynthetic capacity.
Cotton pest management
CSIRO is leading the way in developing sustainable, environmentally-friendly ways of dealing with cotton pests.
Our research on weeds
Sustainable weed, pest and disease control
Building economic and environmentally sustainable and durable pest, weed and disease control throughout food and fibre production systems.
Weed seed key
Using specimens from the National Research Collections Australia, we have created an easy ID key for the seeds of weedy daisies. Our daisy weed seed key is used at Australia's borders to protect biosecurity and support trade.
Articles on pests & diseases
CSIRO 'gene sandwich’ to enhance wheat rust resistance
Australia is expecting a strong wheat crop this year, but that would be threatened if a large outbreak of wheat rust occurred. However, researchers at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, led an international effort to develop wheats with a stronger and potentially more durable level of resistance against rust diseases by “stacking” five resistance genes together.
Two CSIRO scientists announced as 2020 fellows by AAAS
Professor Toby Walsh and Dr TJ Higgins from Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Cereal killer's deadly touch could lead to new wheat threat
Scientists have uncovered the origins of the world’s deadliest strain of cereal rust disease which threatens global food security.
Wheat disease breakthrough to help feed the world
Famine may be largely a thing of the past but in recent years the re-emergence of a disease that can kill wheat – which provides a fifth of humanity’s food – has threatened food security; now a breakthrough is being announced just before Christmas, in two companion papers being published in the prestigious journal Science.