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Pinpoint problem plants early

Wednesday 15 April 2020

There is help for farmers and landholders to identify new and unusual plants growing in their paddocks as Eurobodalla Council’s invasive species officers visit fire-affected properties in coming months, flagging weeds of agricultural concern.

Supervisor Paul Martin said a lot of hay and other stock feed was brought into the region during the drought and after the bushfires.

“We’ve reports that stock owners received hay from as far afield as Western Australia and Tasmania,” Mr Martin said.

“With only limited traceability for most stockfeed donations, which means we can’t verify their weed status. That could lead to an increased risk of agricultural weed incursion.”

Mr Martin said property visits were already underway and would continue until June, focussing on properties west of the Princes Highway in fire affected areas; Runnyford, Currowan and Buckenbowra, and the Deua and Tuross catchments, including Belowra and Nerrigundah.

“We’re here to help anyone who’s seeing different and unusual plants popping up, especially after the fires which laid areas bare for infestation” he said.

“If people think fireweed is bad, try getting tropical soda apple or parthenium weed under control. Plants like those two can destroy local agriculture and may not be familiar to our local farmers, or look similar to existing weeds and fly under the radar.”

Mr Martin said all property visits would be conducted in line with COVID-19 best practices and staff would use separate vehicles to examine paddock plants and weeds, and observe social distancing requirements.

“These are interesting times, so we ask for a tip of the hat in place of a handshake,” he said.