Outsmarting weeds

07 June 2013

We’ve all seen firsthand the enormous economic and environmental impacts of weeds on the Australian grazing industry.

However, weed control is challenged by complexity. How do we achieve optimum grazing of pastures, with minimal chemical inputs while planning for the seasons ahead?

Industry needs clever ways to combat weed control that doesn’t cost the earth, require vast amounts of chemicals or take up valuable man hours. 

I’ve heard of lots of ways that producers have tackled their weed problems. In the US, for example, a few producers have trained livestock to eat weeds. Some producers have made silage from weeds, then added molasses to make it more palatable.

We’re currently seeking fresh ideas to better combat weeds across the grazing industry, and learning from the local knowledge that producers have built up in testing various approaches to get on top of weeds. 

From a review of Australian and international research and producer experiences, MLA is seeking to identify approaches to  weed management that could form the basis for further research. 

If there’s an innovative weed-control method being used in your local area that’s having successful results, your insights could help create new tools in our industry’s ongoing war against weeds. 

Have you heard of or trialled any innovative approaches to weed control? In your comment, please state your region, target weed and what worked for you.


Comments

Sandra Baxendell - 7 June

Goats should be used more than they currently are for weed control- on a rotational basis. Often they select seed heads as a preference e.g. thistles

Dixie Nott - 7 June

Fight a weed with a weed. Praxelis clematidia is an expanding problem and unstoppable due to its dispersal mechanisms, in central Queensland. Throw Wynn cassia seed into the dense patches of Praxelis and eventually the good guy wins and Wynn cassia adds huge amts of nitrogen which then facilitates grass sucession. Easy.

Carolyn - 7 June

I have worked with VBT, in Victoria, with Blackberry Control, and have used a number of chemical, and non-chemical methods for control of Blackberry in post-Black Saturday Bushfire areas. The include intense grazing pressure, goats, camels, mulching, cut and paint (less herbicide needed).

Michael Taylor - 7 June

African Lovegrass has been reduced in this area through applications of high in nitrogen fertilzers. It has also been seen that the Lovegrass is absent under nitrogen fixing legumes such as accacias where there are large amounts in the surrounding pastures. I think there is already some work being done on this but innovative ways at changing the soil nutrition to combat other hardy weeds would be worthwhile investigating more.

Jo Hill - 7 June

On our coastal country of Central Queensland we find that creeping bluegrass (bisset variety) has been effective in maintaining weed free paddocks. It will take over from grader grass, given time, and of course not overgrazing. As the bisset is a heavy seeder as well as producing runners, it produces a dense crop.

Gilruth Rees - 8 June

Head of Clarence River - Blue Heliotrope beaten by planting subtropical pasture mixture, allowing it to be fully established before grazing. Mix of Rhodes grass, Premier Digit, Wynn Cassia, Siratro & Burgundy Bean planted in November. With grazing occurring after seed set, pasture becomes living haystack after frost when cattle graze from top down. Legumes add nitrogen to soil & after a number of years no fertilizer has been needed & pasture regenerates.

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