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Invasive weeds still a big problem

SOME of our farming number are finally getting some rain after an extended dry period and what usually occurs is the ground and paddocks around your property get a lovely green tinge.

The paddock feed for livestock I can handle, however the green tinge on some of our wetter farming blocks and pasture areas could turn to a jungle, if not controlled.

Weeds are described as plants out of place, which is fair enough and of course, one person's weeds are another person's fodder.

The weeds that really need controlling by us all are those that are really invasive, aggressive and just plain useless, such as parthenium, clockweed, all the burrs, lantana ... and the list just goes on.

It has been said by many that our annual bill for weed control runs into amounts like Brisbane telephone numbers.

The two really having a resurgence in numbers are parthenium in mainly Central Queensland and clockweed in Southern Queensland.

Parthenium has been at the forefront of many weed control efforts in CQ and has penetrated extensively into all corners of this country.

Easily and relatively cheaply controlled with selective broadleaf herbicides like 24-D or the Metsulfuron products, the dry months certainly does put pressure on grazing land to sustain livestock numbers.

The unfortunate side affect of this pressure is the over grazed bare areas, which absolutely lends itself to a proliferation of weeds, namely parthenium.

Clockweed is back with a vengeance in southern Queensland.

This particular weed certainly does not have the profile of parthenium, however from personal experience in my South Burnett farming background, this tall willowy plant can grow to over seven feet and acquire dozens of plants per square metre.

The large number of seeds on the long whippy top are easily spread by birds, wind and water.

Roadsides and slightly damper areas lend themselves to its proliferation.

No animal really consumes this plant, even when there is nothing else is to eat and it drought does not kill it or even slow it down.

Apart from a chipping hoe, most broadleaf herbicides like 24-D are effective.

Coverage is important and of course with products like our 24-D hormone type products, you need to be careful of any droplet drift onto sensitive plants.

The list of sensitive plants is long for this old and still useful product, however significant cropping ones are tomatoes, grapes and cotton.

So while I am in favour of controlling our burgeoning weed problems by various herbicide and cultural methods, you need to be sure of your spraying capabilities and be mindful of downwind neighbours who may have broadleaf or grass plants they wish to keep.

So get into your weed control and be rest assured the visual weed free appearance of your paddocks are a pleasant sight and undoubtedly more productive in a few weeks time.

Topics:  biosecurity paul mcintosh weeds