Invasive plants present an extremely serious threat to Australia's natural environment and agricultural regions. It is estimated that weeds cost Australian agricultural production $4 billion each year. Unless the spread of invasive plants is slowed down, future generations may be left with the legacy of a degraded Australian landscape, which will have a major impact on Australia's primary industries, trade and economy.
Given the scale of the problem, it's not surprising we need to adopt a multifaceted approach. We all need to play a part. The Australian Government and the state and territory governments work collaboratively to implement national eradication programs for weeds in Australia. Farmers too, play a critical role. Many farmers are proactively working to eradicate invasive plants and already have weed management plans in place.
To assist in solving the weed problem, consider the following:
- Use integrated weed management techniques to increase your chance of success and reduce the risk of herbicide resistance and other problems associated with single strategy approaches.
- Thoroughly clean down machinery, vehicles, tools and boots that have been in weed-infested areas.
- Provide a properly constructed wash down area as near as possible to your farm gate.
Insist that any contract equipment or service vehicles (e.g. electricity, telephone) be cleaned before coming onto and when leaving your property.
- Get a vendor declaration of the weed status of fodder, hay, road base and seed prior to purchase. Similarly, insist upon inspecting the log book of contractors (e.g. harvesters, hay balers, seed drillers) entering your land.
- If you can't be sure your imported feed is weed free, set aside containment areas where you feed stock.
- Keep access roads, easements and yards weed free.
- Move livestock to frequently used holding areas after they've been grazing on weedy paddocks. This will limit the spread of weeds and allow easy control of new seedlings which may emerge from animal waste.
- Hold livestock that may be infested with seed in a single location until they are shorn or until weed seeds have had the chance to pass through their digestive system.
- Develop a Pest management plan for your property.
- Factor weed control into drought planning – talk to your local agronomist.
- Factor weed control issues into prescribed fire plans.
- Keep an eye out for some of the more serious exotic weeds, and any new weed infestations on your land.
Spotted something unusual? – Report new weeds