Weeks of intermittent wet weather have brought welcome relief to parched land, stressed pastures and empty waterholes and has ignited a surge in weeds and pest plants across the Bundaberg Region.
Council’s Senior Land Protection Officer Eric Dyke said several declared plants were currently either in seed or about to bloom.
“Giant Rats Tail Grass (GRT) is now very evident in many areas across the region with infestations apparent in areas around Childers and Gin Gin,” he said.
“Groundsel Bush is also budding and will be flowering within a few weeks. Rubber Vine and Parthenium Weed are also of concern and certainly are being targeted by Council’s Land Protection team.”
However, with just four team members and a regional area of 6400 square kilometres to cover, their task is a daunting one.
“With GRT our focus is more on containment than eradication,” Eric said.
“It’s pretty well accepted that GRT has a hold in some areas where it is almost impossible to eradicate.
“However, we are educating property owners through field days and field trials in methods effective in containing the spread of the grass. We currently have a trail site near Bucca where the property owner has provided six one-acre paddocks for us to trial various control methods.”
Ideal time to attack weeds
“We are having great success with Groundsel and our advice to property owners is to attack any sign of groundsel now as the current growing cycle provides for a good uptake of herbicides,” Eric said.
“Unfortunately, we are struggling against the invasive nature of Parthenium Weed which is being proliferated along our waterways and continues to spread every time we have floodwaters from the North Burnett.”
Eric said Council was getting towards the end of a year long biosecurity program involving the region wide surveillance of prohibited plants.
“The program commenced May 10 last year and will finalise on May 1 this year. We are mapping the presence of GRT, Groundsel, Parthenium, Hymenachne, Annual Ragweed, Water Hyacinth and Rubber Vine.
“While Land Protection Officers currently use a drone to investigate areas difficult to enter on foot, a helicopter has been utilised to provide an aerial survey of the region and was particularly effective in identifying infestation of Groundsel.
Council has assets and initiatives available to local property owners to assist in the control or eradication of declared pest plants.
“We have seven mobile spray trailers available for hire which hold 400 litres and come equipped with a 100-metre retractable hose reel. There are two in Childers and Gin Gin and three located at Heales Road at Meadowvale,” said Eric.
“Council also has a chemical subsidy scheme which enable landholders to access at a reduced rate, the chemical Taskforce used to control GRT.”
Further information in relation to Council pest plant assistance programs can be found at https://www.bundaberg.qld.gov.au/weeds-pest-animals/landholder-assistance-1/5.
Land Protection Officers can be contacted on 1300 883 699.
Bundaberg Regional Council will be hosting weed workshops this month, to find out more click here.