Nightmare weed for livestock farmers set to wake from winter snooze

News article |

Livestock farmers and landholders are encouraged to be on high alert for the noxious pest plant Noogoora Burr (Xanthium strumarium), which can inundate pastures and contaminate wool.

The declared weed that produces spiny burrs that stick to sheep’s wool remains dormant during winter before germinating with spring and summer rain.

Northern and Yorke Landscape Board Officer Alexia Catford said with recent rain events, growers will need to watch out for the germination of Noogoora Burr on their properties.

“Noogoora Burr lies in wait for the rain, but once it comes, it grows rapidly and sets seed quite quickly, so early detection is vital,” she said.

“It’s a ruthless weed that can dominate entire cropping and pasture paddocks and as it’s an annual plant, there is only a small window of opportunity to control it.”

Nightmare weed for livestock farmers set to wake from winter snooze

Noogoora Burr is notorious for moving quickly across the landscape as the burrs are covered in hooked spines that are easily lodged and carried in wool.

Good hygiene and biosecurity practices are essential to protect the value of stock and limit the weed spreading to neighbouring properties or even further afield via stock transport.

“It’s a good idea to graze all newly-purchased livestock in paddocks that you visit regularly, so any germinating weeds can be seen, identified and controlled before seed set and widespread establishment,” said Ms Catford.

Farmers can expect Noogoora Burr to germinate from September to January, with the burrs forming between February and April.

Landscape Officers from the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board can help land managers identify weeds and also provide advice about the best control methods for individual situations. They will undertake targeted roadside control of Noogoora Burr in the vicinity of the southern Flinders in coming weeks.

For assistance, please contact the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board on 8841 3444 or email

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