A very successful aerial autumn weed spraying program has been completed by the Upper Macquarie County Council.
During April an aerial weed spraying program was conducted across the Upper Macquarie County Council area. The County Council area covers the Bathurst, Blayney, Lithgow and Oberon local government areas. The program included 64 landowners and resulted in total of 1,973Ha being sprayed, including 1,034Ha of Serrated Tussock and 939Ha of Blackberry. 

“Serrated Tussock and Blackberry are declared noxious weeds” said Clr Geoff Braddon, Chairman of Upper Macquarie County Council. “These weeds are very undesirable for the region affecting not only agricultural production but also our way of life.”

“It is vital that we deal effectively with these weeds and minimise the impact that they have on our region” said Clr Braddon.

Recognised as one of the worst weeds in Australia, blackberry was declared a Weed of National Significance in 1999. Blackberry grows vigorously and can infest large areas quickly.  The weed has been estimated to result in an annual loss of production and cost of control of between $95.1 million and $102.8 million in Australia. Blackberry infests about 9 million hectares of land in Australia. 

Maintaining control of blackberry is an ongoing process and cannot be achieved with a one-off effort, especially with larger infestations. The best way to manage blackberry is to develop a plan that details the factors to be considered, the control methods to be used, and the monitoring and rehabilitation regimes to be implemented.

Serrated tussock is another noxious weed that is highly adapted to a range of environments, it seeds prolifically and is difficult and costly to control. The weed can infest land ranging from highly arable and fertile areas through to steep and non-arable areas with low fertility. 

Serrated tussock is not palatable for livestock and has little feed value. Significant infestations will dramatically reduce carrying capacities and the seeds are also a serious contaminant of hay and grain. 

Control of serrated tussock is on-going and often at great cost to producers, with production from infested country substantially reduced and land values lowered. Control of the weed needs to occur as soon as it appears and before they seed (including odd plants and light or scattered densities of plants). Delaying control will quickly lead to larger infestations which are more difficult and costly to control. Early intervention is the best way to avoid heavy production losses and high costs of control at a later time.

“Staff will shortly start preparing for the Spring Aerial Spraying Program and landholders interested in participating in that program are encouraged to contact Council” said Clr Braddon. 

“Council would also like to make a special acknowledgment and thanks to all those land owners who assisted the UMCC staff by providing landing sites, property access and water sources for the aerial spraying program” said Chairman Braddon.

More information on noxious weeds and their control can be found on at umcc.nsw.gov.au.