ABOUT 120 Queensland and NSW sorghum growers involved in a class action against seed supplier Advanta are head to the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Monday.
Growers claim MR43 Elite seed supplied by Advanta Seeds (formerly Pacific Seeds) and planted in 2010 was contaminated with the sorghum-related weed seed shattercane.
They are arguing shattercane has impacted on the management and profitability of their farming enterprises.
In addition to being a new, expensive to control plant pest, growers say the weed has stopped them from growing optimally profitable sorghum on sorghum crop rotations.
Growers say shattercane outcompetes growing sorghum and as a grass similar to sorghum, it is impossible to control in growing crops.
As the name suggests, the seed heads on shattercane do not retain their seeds on maturity, allowing them to naturally drop to the ground. The seeds are also said to have an extended dormancy period.
Advanta supplies about 70-80 per cent of the sorghum seed planted in Australia.
Advanta Seeds has vigorously defended the allegations, none of which have been proven, the company says.
In a statement, Advanta Seeds said it could not speculate on the evidence to be presented as part of the action, nor an outcome, but is confident in its stance.
A case involving an individual grower heard in parallel, but separately, to the shattercane class action is understood to have been settled in the Supreme Court on Thursday. The details of that settlement are confidential.
Toowoomba-based solicitor Dan Creevey from Creevey and Russell Lawyers is representing the growers involved in the class action. It is understood up to 400 growers could have farms effected by shattercane.
The trial is expected to run for about four weeks in the Supreme Court in Brisbane.