Outbreak of Skeleton Weed nipped in the bud

News article |

The potential spread of a weed that can significantly impact cereal crop production yields has been prevented, thanks to the swift actions of a passionate long-time volunteer.

Denis Story of Port Clinton, was spraying another noxious weed north of Port Arthur, when he discovered a Skeleton Weed outbreak.

Mr Story, a recipient of the Premier’s Award for volunteer support, contacted the Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Community Team to notify them of the Skeleton Weed sighting, and assisted the team who treated the area by spraying the outbreak.

"The cooperation and response from Natural Resources has been excellent," Mr Story said.

"We have sprayed at least 20 hectares so far; it’s a matter of covering a lot of ground either by foot or car to prevent the spread."

A declared agricultural weed of national significance, Skeleton Weed (Chondrilla juncea) is from the daisy family; the flower produces seed without any need for pollination and infestations can spread for kilometres in the wind.

The weed is known to take much-needed water and nitrogen from the soil, in some cases preventing cereal crops from reaching maturity, and may also block harvest machinery and cause moisture level problems in grain storage silos.

Germination only needs as little as 5mm of rain and usually occurs in autumn; the summer showers in the district have jump started the plants’ germination.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke District Manager Terry Boyce said early intervention is the best way to control this type of weed.

"Experience shows us that this weed is not easily controlled by herbicides, so it is important to identify and destroy signs of infestations before they become established," Mr Boyce said.

Mr Boyce said Mr Story’s actions were a great example of the community being vigilant and help to protect the area’s natural resources.

"The contribution of Mr Story in identifying and reporting the outbreak of Skeleton Weed highlights the need for continued community involvement in weed management.

"The ongoing assistance provided by our valued volunteers is integral to ensuring environmental sustainability."

Staff and volunteers will continue to monitor the outbreak for any further germination.

If you notice an outbreak of Skeleton Weed, or other declared weeds in your area, contact your local Natural Resources Centre, www.landscape.sa.gov.au/northernandyorke.

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