Paterson's curse is a major pasture weed throughout southern Australia. It is estimated that approximately 33 million hectares are infested, costing about $30m annually.
Paterson's curse is also known as Patterson's Curse, Salvation Jane, Blueweed, Lady Campbell Weed or Riverina Bluebell.
Paterson's curse contains alkaloids that can cause chronic cumulative liver damage that can lead to deaths of animals, especially when substantial amounts are consumed over prolonged periods. Horses and pigs are highly susceptible to poisoning by Paterson's curse, cattle moderately susceptible, and sheep and goats slightly susceptible.
Conditions when poisoning by Paterson's curse is likely to occur
Paterson's curse is most common in high rainfall, temperate areas. However, it can grow over a wide area because of its tolerance to different climates and soils.
Conditions under which Paterson's curse is more likely to be abundant include the following:
- Years when the autumn break is early.
- Paddocks that have not been cropped or grazed for several years, or have only been lightly grazed.
Strategies to prevent poisoning by Paterson's curse
Seasonal grazing management tactics, tactical application of herbicides and use of biological control agents can control new or existing Paterson's curse infestations.
- MLA publications:
- Managing Paterson's curse to boot pasture production
- A practical guide to biological control of Paterson's curse
- 3D weed management: Paterson's Curse Case Study
- 3D weed management: Paterson's Curse Best Practice Manual
- The biological control of Paterson's curse - Pollen beetle
- The biological control of Paterson's curse - Flea beetle
- The biological control of Paterson's curse - Crown weevil
- The biological control of Paterson's curse - Root weevil
- New South Wales Department of Industry & Investment publication: Paterson's curse
- Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website
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