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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 9

I Introduction

II The Australian Chemical Industry

III Pharmaceuticals

IV Chemists In Other Industries

V The Dawn Of Modern Chemical Industry - High Pressure Synthesis

VI The Growth Of Synthetic Chemicals - Concentration, Rationalisation And International Links

VII Australian Industrial Chemical Research Laboratories
i Australian instrument inventions
ii Plant protection - overseas and in Australia
iii Successes in the laboratory but . . .
iv Drugs for sheep and cattle revisited Tetramisole - international success and local manufacture
v 'Promicide'* 'Grenade'* to control ticks
vi Technical service R&D
vii Industry/CSIRO/university collaboration
viii Australian entrepreneurs in modern chemistry

VIII The Plastics Industry

IX The Paint Industry

X Acknowledgements



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Diquat and conservation tillage (continued)

Ultimately Australia, too, derived a major benefit from the development. For a long time the bipyridyls, because of the costly synthesis, remained garden and vegetable crop chemicals and broad acres use seemed precluded. Australian agricultural chemists, however, saw one large scale outlet which might reduce costs, direct drilling, that is, controlling weeds by high speed spraying instead of the conventional method of ploughing, which causes erosion and costs more in labour and scarce diesel fuel. With this new concept and the claim to their contribution to diquat development they negotiated special deals and support for prolonged development effort with their colleagues in the UK. In the midsixties, joint teams, with help from the WA Department of Agriculture, pioneered the concept of direct drilling or minimum or conservation tillage as it was called later. After eight years of field trials farmers began to accept the process and by 1980 about a quarter of West Australian crops was sown by the new method. In the USA Monsanto invented yet another highly effective weed control agent, 'ROUNDUP' (glyphosphate) which acts on the plant systemically and is active against very persistent weeds. In prolonged field trials it was developed for broad acre use (registered 1979/80) and offered the farmer a second alternative of conservation tillage. The product proved very successful and in 1982 Monsanto built a second stage production plant for 'ROUNDUP' at Rozelle in Sydney.

In the 1980s, twenty years after the basic discovery, other States began to adopt the new technology. National benefits are: Reduced erosion, improved yields and savings in the fuel of which Australia is shortest -diesel oil. It was an agrarian revolution -at least partly the age-old plough had been displaced.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - I.C.I. Australia Ltd; Monsanto Australia; Western Australia. Department of Agriculture

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 684 - 685, Online Edition 2000
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