Everyday plant health heroes

Graham Charles

Research Agronomist & Weed Scientist

As a weed scientist, plant (or crop) health, is all about promoting the crop by making weeds unhealthy and uncompetitive!!

How did you choose your job? Or did it choose you?

It chose me. I was working on a property and got a message over the UHF that I had an interview, but I didn’t know what the job was. The rest is history. I am very grateful to Greg Constable, Dave Anthony, and the industry that backed me back in 1988 and are still backing me now.

How long have you worked in this industry?

31 years.

What does plant health mean to you?

As a weed scientist, plant (or crop) health, is all about promoting the crop by making weeds unhealthy and uncompetitive!!

What are your greatest achievements in this role?

The release of WEEDpak, the Integrated Weed Management bible for Australian cotton production. WEEDpak brings together all the weeds research that has been done in cotton, together with some great weed identification and herbicide damage identification information.

Detailed weed management research on a series of international and Australian weeds that has helped the Australian cotton industry to get on top of its major weed issues

My multi-species weed control threshold model for cotton. I released an initial threshold in 2008, which was a world first, but I now have a greatly improved threshold model in the pipeline which I hope the industry can get a look at before the end of the year. It is a quantum step above anything that has previously been available for any crop anywhere in the world.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Apart from the normal administrative flotsam, for the last few years I have spent a lot of time fitting curves to a huge set of weed competition data working around aspects of my weed control threshold models. It has been a huge challenge, with data from thousands of plots collected over a lot of years, but has proven to be very rewarding, with amazing outcomes.

What advice would you give anybody wanting to get into the industry?

Go for it. Cotton can be a tough and competitive industry to work in, but it is extremely rewarding because the industry will back solid science every time, and research turns into industry practice amazingly quickly.


Download pdf – Graham Charles