The Gecko CLaN (Broken Catchment Landcare Network) is increasing its efforts to combat Chilean needle grass, a highly invasive weed which could be devastating for agriculture in the Goulburn Broken region.
The Chilean needle grass seed injures livestock, causes wool to be downgraded, and contaminates crops and hay. It is listed as a ‘restricted’ noxious weed in Victoria, which means Chilean needle grass or any product contaminated with the seed cannot be traded or transported, creating large financial implications for farmers.
To address this, the Gecko CLaN is running a series of information sessions on identification and best management practice to equip landholders with the knowledge needed to combat the spread of Chilean needle grass.
“We need to get on top of the problem now, before it spreads further and becomes a major burden for the region”, said Barry Oswald who is presenting the information sessions.
“The biggest problem with Chilean needle grass is that it is so difficult to identify, which means infestations can become well established before landholders are aware there is a problem”.
Chilean needle grass is commonly mistaken for native grasses, especially native spear grasses, wallaby grass and tall fescue, which makes it a particularly challenging issue. It is a vigorous competitor in pastures and native grasslands and can completely take over large areas if left unchecked.
Once established, Chilean needle grass is very difficult to control because of its unique and highly resilient reproductive system, which produces three types of seed, two of which are very unusual. Stem seeds are concealed in the leaf sheaths of flowering stems and basal seeds develop in the crown near the roots.
The main seeds ability to stick to nearly anything is the greatest contributor to the weeds spread. It readily attaches to vehicles, machinery and animals and can also be dispersed in waterways and by flood events.
The information sessions aim to educate landholders and concerned locals on identification and management of Chilean needle grass, including control options and reducing seed spread. Sessions will be held between 12-27 November at Dookie, Euroa, Nagambie, Molyullah, Caniambo, Goomalibee, Swanpool and Thoona. For more details contact the Gecko CLaN (03) 5761 1560 or email@example.com
For further information www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/Chileanneedlegrass/