Land managers digging deep to combat weeds

Following the heavy rain and flooding in 2021 producers and land managers across the Central West are finding weeds in places never seen before and in abundantly high levels.

A group of farmers near Coolah have self-funded aerial spraying to try and stay on top of St John’s Wort and are also seeing Blue Heliotrope in the area for the first time.

Central West Local Land Services Regional Weeds Coordinator Jodie Lawler said councils from across the region are reporting new incursions of weeds spread by floodwater.

“Unfortunately, floodwaters will often spread weeds into new areas and the follow up rain and mild weather we’ve been having has meant many weeds are flowering much longer and growing prolifically,” Mrs Lawler said.

"Weddin Shire Council has reported an increase in silverleaf nightshade and Parkes Shire Council are seeing new incursions of noogoora burr," she said.

"Bogan Shire Council can see tiger pear and mother-of-millions being an issue after the wet year and  Forbes Shire Council are on the lookout for chilean needlegrass."

President of the Coolah Pest Management Group Doug Arnott said it has been one of the worst seasons for St John’s wort he had seen.

“This is one of the worst years for woody weeds like wort,” Mr Arnott said.

“People are seeing weeds in spots they’ve never seen before.”

The helicopter spraying was necessary to try and combat the weed in hard-to-reach terrain, Mr Arnott said.

“We had to invest in helicopter spraying to keep it at a level that doesn’t impede our operations too much.”

Central West Local Land Services Mixed Farm Adviser Callen Thompson urged primary producers to watch out for new weed incursions particularly along waterways and areas impacted by floodwater.

“Many land managers are flat out trying to get on top of weeds at the moment which is really important," Mr Thompson said.

“We would urge people to report anything they haven’t seen before to their local council weeds officer for advice on control options.

“Consider prioritising control on high-value and high-risk areas.

“If you have had large outbreaks, try targeting areas with high environmental or production values.

“We also recommend treating areas where ongoing control will be difficult.

“For instance, controlling small incursions on hilly, un-trafficable areas can be effective whereas controlling dense populations in such areas can be expensive, time consuming and very difficult.”

Further advice on weeds and weed management can be sourced from Central West Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 or via www.lls.nsw.gov.au.

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