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Hay! What’s in it for you?

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Weed control has Aussie farmers out of pocket to the tune of around 4 billion dollars each year - serious money in anyone’s book.

Weed seed in hay is a primary entry point for many serious agricultural weeds and while hay donations from interstate have given the shire’s primary producers significant relief from drought and fire, it could be a ticking time bomb for agriculture in the shire.

Invasive species supervisor Paul Martin said Eurobodalla Council was ready to help landowners with information, identification of suspect plants, and advice on control measures.

“Now is an important time to keep a close watch on paddocks, particularly where hay has been used. Determining hay quality can be difficult and farmers should keep an eye out for unusual plants shooting up in their paddocks,” Mr Martin said.

“Hay imported from south east Victoria could harbor ragwort or Chilean needle grass, while hay from Victoria’s north may include seeds of black knapweed and African love grass.

“Farmers who used hay imported from Queensland may find parthenium weed sprouting.”

Mr Martin said the fires and subsequent floods that swept across the region laid soil bare in many areas across Eurobodalla.

The increased light, water and nutrients have created conditions which are perfect for colonizing plants, especially weeds,” he said.

“In the Bega Valley to our south, African love grass is coming up as never before; it’s been lying in wait for some kind of disturbance and now flourishing in the absence of pasture. Parthenium weed can spread like wildfire with devastating consequences to local agriculture if not contained and eradicated quickly.”

Contact Council’s invasive species team on 4474 1269 or send pictures of suspect plants to enviro.service@esc.nsw.gov.au, or visit the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden online weed-finder.