Weeds A Community Problem

October 22, 1999 The Rural News

Weed invasion is one of the most serious and expensive land degradation problems in Australia, and one of the least known and understood by the Australian community.

'The National Farmers' Federation estimates that the average Farmer and grazier spends about 30 per cent of their income on pest control, a large portion of which relates to weeds.

In these difficult times for producers it is important that we identity problem plants before they become established and contribute further to the $3.3 billion weeds cost Australian agriculture each year" NSW Agriculture weeds agronomist Steve Sutherland said.

The old adage: Prevention is better than cure' is certainly correct.

"Where weeds are concerned, it is always cheaper and easier to control a small infestation or new incursion before the weed becomes established. "A small early investment will prevent massive long-term control costs and production losses."

Weeds can be spread in many ways. including on machinery or livestock, or as contaminants or fodder or seed.

Where possible, buy certified seed and check the certificate to see what weed species are present," Mr Sutherland said.

Other handy hints include:- keeping livestock in a holding paddock for 7 to 14 days; feeding stock in the same part of the paddock each time and monitoring any plants that germinate; washing all vehicles and equipment in the same place; and when the harvesting crops, move from the least "weedy" to the most "weedy" paddocks.

It is not only rural landholders that should be involved. Mr Sutherland said urban residents can assist, through identification. avoiding invasive garden plants and correct garden waste disposal to prevent further problem weeds.