Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, logo.

Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, appointment of Senior Compliance Inspector, Christine Comer.

 Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, logo.

New compliance officer-

Christine joins Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA), on an 18 month contract, funded by Royalties for Regions, to work specifically on compliance of C3 weeds.  Covering a region from the Shire of  Serpentine -Jarrahdale to Bridgetown / Manjimup and over to the coast, she will work with both DAFWA,  Biosecurity Officers’ and Biosecurity Groups in this region.

Christine comes from an environmental science background, having spent 3 years in local government at the Cities of Mandurah and Rockingham. She was a local government representative on the Peel-Harvey Biosecurity Group and undertook landscape scale cotton bush and C3 pest and weed control as a Project Officer at the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council.

 

Biosecurity and compliance-

Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia,  has prepared a compliance strategy and will undertake compliance processes in a way that supports a community coordinated approach for control and management of widespread and established declared pests. The compliance process includes remedial action and prosecution where appropriate. A summary of the compliance process timeline can be see below.

An image describing the compliance process by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, when controlling declared weeds.

For more compliance information follow this link to the DAFWA website.

Compliance strategy timeline

  • August: community groups send letters to landholders
  • September: negotiate target areas for compliance with groups
  • Early October: inspections
  • Late October: non-compliance warning letters issued
  • November: Pest Control Notices issued
  • Early December: contractors engaged when required.

 

Reporting cotton bush

Don’t forget you can help manage cotton bush in your area by reporting infestations using the DAFWA MyWeedWatcher App.

MyWeedWatcher enables users to identify weeds, conduct surveys on weeds of interest and report on the presence of declared weeds. The identification guide allows users to quickly search for a weed according to plant characteristics such as flower colour, leaf shape, and plant type. The survey/reporting feature enables users to map weeds, add images and record survey data such as weed density, weed counts, confidence of identification, and notes on control activities done.

A picture of a hand holding a phone showing the MyWeedWatcher App

Participants at the cotton bush field day

Local farmer spreads weed message at field day

The cotton bush and Apple of Sodom field day on the 5th of October was the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group’s most popular event to date. With over 60 people attending, the focus was the management and control of some locally common declared weeds- cotton bush and Apple of Sodom. The  event personified the interest and need of the community for help in controlling declared weeds, real experiences both positive and negative were shared providing integral information for local property owners.
Property owner Mike reminds us all that the “Best way to manage weeds is to take ownership of your own weed problems and that’s what we are doing.”

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group looks forward to holding more informative events like this one in 2017. Become a member today so you don’t miss out on upcoming events and biosecurity information.

The below Article written about the event appeared in the

Harvey Reporter in the October 11th 2016 Edition.

Wokalup couple Anne and Wayne Slammers speak with Department of Agriculture and Food development officer Andrew Reeves.

LANDOWNERS came from as far as Serpentine and Bridgetown to a field day on the treatment of declared weeds cotton bush and Apple of Sodom in Brunswick on Wednesday.

Landowner Mike Donaghy and his wife Kylie West had tried a variety of methods to combat the infestation they found when they bought the property seven months ago.

With support from the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group and the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, Mr Donaghy offered to share his experiences with other stakeholders and get the message across that the problem can only be solved with a community approach.

“I got rid of cotton bush and Apple of Sodom in one paddock and now find wild radish and wild mustard taking root,” he said.

“The best way to solve the problem of declared weeds spreading is to take ownership of the weeds on our own land.

“As farmers we share the responsibility and we don’t want to spread highly invasive cotton bush to our neighbours.”

Biosecurity group chairman Vaughn Byrd said the turnout of almost 80 people was amazing.

“It was an interactive way where Mike shared his experiences and this prompted others to share theirs,” he said.

“I talked to a number of people and they were very happy with the day.

“In some instances it clarified for them that they were on the right track controlling weeds.

“The field day was very timely – cotton bush is no longer seasonal and landholders have to be proactive all year round.

“If you leave the weeds until they flower, you have left it too late.”

 

Participants at the cotton bush field day

Wokalup Couple Ann and Wayne Slammers speak with Department of Agriculture and Food WA Officer Andrew Reeves.

Barley Grass weed

The 4 major weeds you don’t want in your hay.

Hay season has finished and lovely yellow rectangles and rolls dot the hills and flats of the Peel Harvey region, but don’t be taken in – hay can hide a multitude of weeds you could be introducing onto your property.  Movement between properties of hay, animals and machinery are some of the most common ways weeds are transported through the environment.  All property owners should have specific property biosecurity plan in place to restrict the movement of weeds and pests.

One persons weed can be another persons treasure, but there are weeds that can be toxic to livestock and owners should be aware of what these look like. There are a few things to restrict the likely hood of introducing weeds onto your property through your hay. They include educating yourself on what weeds can look like when baled up in hay, checking out the verges and adjoining proprieties for weeds of your hay supplier, and asking questions about the baling process and the quality of the hay.

Four major weeds you could find in your hay-

 

Patersons Curse  (Echium plantagineum) 

patersons curse weed

Declared- Yes

Toxic- Yes

Recommended herbicides
In cereals

Chlorsulfuron; Metsulfuron methyl; Triasulfuron; Tigrex; Broadstrike; Jaguar; Bromoxynil + MCPA

In pasture, up to four leaf stage

Jaguar®; Tigrex®; Broadstrike®; Bromoxynil + MCPA

At early flowering, seed set control

Chlorsulfuron; Metsulfuron methyl; Triasulfuron; Glyphosate + 2,4-D LV ester

 

Narrow leaf cotton bush (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) –

Cotton bush

Declared- Yes

Toxic- Yes

Recommended herbicides Glyphosate

Triclopyr            

 

One-leaf cape tulip (Moraea flaccida, previously Homeria flaccida) –

Cape tulip

Declared- No

Toxic- Yes

Recommended herbicides
(One-leaf) August-September, (two-leaf) July-end August:

2,4-D LV ester (cereals and pasture)

2,4-D amine (cereals and pasture)

2,4-DB (cereals and pasture)

Paraquat (blanket wiper)

Full emergence to early August:

2,2-DPA

Wheat pre-sowing or post-emergence. Barley and oats post-emergence only:

Chlorsulfuron

Wheat: 10 days pre-sowing. Barley post-emergence:

Metsulfuron

At point of corm exhaustion (pasture):

Spinnaker® (for two-leaf only)

Barley Grass (Hordeum glaucum and H. leporinum) –

Barley Grass weed

Declared- No

Toxic- No (seed head causes physical injuries to eyes and mouth of livestock)

Recommended herbicides

Post-emergent herbicide control is limited due to a limited range of herbicides available for the control of barley grass in wheat and other cereals.

 

Integrated weed management

Tactic name

Most likely % control (range) Comments on use
Crop choice and sequence 85 (0–95) Avoid planting barley in infested areas
Herbicide-tolerant crops 80 (40–95) Triazines and imidazolinone herbicides provide useful control in tolerant crops
Burning residues 50 (0–75) Dropping chaff and straw into windrows improves control
Inversion ploughing 90 (70–99) Use skimmers to ensure deep burial
Delayed sowing 60 (50–90) Level of control depends on autumn break. Use in combination with Tactic 2.2a

 

These herbicide and control recommendations are from the Department of Food and Agriculture’s website. Follow the link for more information or to look up control notes for different weeds. When using herbicides remember to use the correct safety equipment and always read the Material Safety Data Sheet for the chemical you are using (available by law through any stockist).

 

 

Support for Weed Control Grant Funding Flyer

Need help to control weeds on your property?

Grants are now available to support the efforts of agricultural landholders and land managers in controlling weeds in the Peel-Harvey Region.

 

Support for weed control-

Expression of Interest

Agricultural landholders and land managers in the local government areas of Waroona, Harvey, Murray, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Mandurah are invited to apply for grants to support their efforts to control weeds.

Grants of $100 to $1500 are available for the purchase of herbicide, spray packs or the hiring of an appropriate weed control contractor.

Please email exec.officer.phbg@gmail.com to receive an application kit.

 

Support for Weed Control Grant Funding Flyer

The difference between branched (many stemmed ) and common (one main stem) broomrape weed.

Keep your eye out for branched broomrape, in WA.

Due to this year’s interesting weather patterns many people have reported a spike in the amount of broomrape in paddocks and nature reserves. What you may not know is that there are different types of this weed with vastly different consequences for agricultural productivity and export markets.

Branched broomrape is currently targeted under DAFWA’s weed surveillance project due to its potential to adversely impact the agricultural industry. The branched version could easily be confused with common broomrape but to date, it has only been found in South Australia in the Murray Bridge area.

Common broomrape-

Common Broomrape is a brown sticky cylindrical plant that parasitises crops and broad-leaf weeds.

Common broomrape (Orobanche minor) a plant lacking in chlorophyll that relies on other plants for nutrients.

Common broomrape is a parasitic plant which has no chlorophyll and relies on its host for nutrients. The lack of chlorophyll is why the plant is brown. It has a translucent pinky brown stem which is sticky to touch. It is common among capeweed and other broad leaf weeds on roadsides and in agricultural areas. If you have the common variety, dig out the plant making sure you get the bulb-like base of the plant before it can set seed. Bag the plants and dispose in the rubbish bin. Quick disposal after pulling is advised as those left heaped on the ground can still go to seed.

Branched broomrape-

The difference between branched (many stemmed) broomrape and common (one main stem) broomrape.

The difference between branched and common broomrape.

The stem of branched broomrape is erect, thin and richly branched. These branches terminate in flowering spikes. Brown or straw-coloured, it grows 10-30cm high.

Impacts of branched broomrape-

Branched broomrape can be parasitic to a wide range of crops and pastures from several plant families, including canola, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, pulse crops, pasture legumes, cucurbits, hemp, lettuce, sunflower, linseed, beans, capsicums, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes and onions. Annoyingly this weed will be parasitic to a range of weeds, enabling it to reproduce even when crops are not present.

The weed’s presence could result in partial or total crop losses and the possible loss of potential to produce some crops in heavily affected areas. Branched broomrape can also cause the loss of export markets interstate and overseas, and increases in management and control costs.

Prevention of branched broomrape-

Branched broomrape a many stemmed parasitic brown weed.

Branched broomrape causes huge impacts in agricultural areas.

  • Practice good biosecurity and avoid bringing any contaminated seed, machinery or livestock onto your property.
  • Be vigilant and learn to identify the weeds on and around your property. Report unfamiliar weeds using the MyWeedWatcher on-line reporting tool or the app (see agric.wa.gov.au/myweedwatcher) or contact the Pest and Disease Information Service on freecall 1800 084 881 or info@agric.wa.gov.au.

For more information about branched broomrape identification, search our website: agric.wa.gov.au.  If you think you have branched broomrape or find any other parasitic plant attacking crop or pasture species, please do not attempt to control it, report it as soon as possible.

 

Green Army join fight against cotton bush

A Green Army team has joined up with the Peel-Harvey Biosecurity Group to pull up mature cotton bush plants on a site in the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

On a site visit to the Murdoch University run Whitby Farm, Peel-Harvey Biosecurity Officers noticed a large infestation of cotton bush adjoining the farm boundary along an unmanaged gazetted road. After learning how the Whitby Farm had successfully eradicated large areas of cotton bush from their property, PHBG officers decided they would look at options to extend this control past the farm’s boundaries. A Green Army team was active in the area and in conjunction with Landcare SJ and the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council it was organised that the team would spend two days pulling up cotton bush.

 

The Green Army is a hands-on, practical environmental action programme that supports local environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia.

 

Cotton bush management

Cotton bush is easily spread by the wind with every cotton bush seed pod containing around 100 seeds. When the pod dries up and drops from the plant, the seeds are carried in the wind and where ever they fall, germinate into new plants. The solution to the cotton bush problem is to break the seed cycle by spraying herbicide or manually removing the cotton bush before it sets seed. When a cotton bush has seed pods formed, the pods can be carefully collected in a plastic bag before removal, or the entire plant can be covered by a bin bag before pulling out.

 

cotton bush seeds

Cotton bush seeds are small and light making them easily spread on the wind.

 

Mature plants can be difficult to remove, as has been the case at this Whitby site. Mature plants can be cut off at the base and herbicide applied to the cut stem to kill the root and prevent regrowth. Another control method option in winter is to cut the mature plant at its base leaving no more than two centimeters of stem and then stomping on the base of the plant until the stem is cracked and damaged- this leaves the plant open to root rot.

To decrease the spread of seed, cotton bush plants can be piled on site and burnt at a later date if applicable or can even be deep buried.

 

 

Green Army pull out cotton bush weed in Whitby.

Green Army participants pull cotton bush in Whitby.

Once an area has been cleared property owners must be vigilant of regrowth. Young cotton bush plants are easy to manage with herbicide and hand pulling, restricting the regrowth so cotton bush doesn’t mature and set seed is the most effective way of ensuring control into the future.

For more information on the different control methods and products available check out the DAFWA website. There is information available on cotton bush as well as other declared pests.

Cotton bush and the community

Controlling declared pests such as cotton bush is the responsibility of landholders and the local community. Declared pests costs society in lots of different ways, but if we can work together many hands make light work and the Peel-Harvey region can become a cotton bush free area. The PHBG’s mission is to educate the community on effective management techniques, helping provide the tools for the removal and control of declared pests. If you would like to become involved in the group or have some ideas on how to get your community involved in pest control, contact us through email at info@peelharveybiosecurity.info.

For more information on the Green Army programme click here.

 

A white flowered bulb garden plant that is toxic to stock.

Bulbs – bloomin’ dodgy in our bushland.

Recently a report has come through of a C1 weed category bulb identified in native bushland in the Peel region. The only other confirmed population of this bulb species is in Victoria. All C1 declared pest are actively excluded from WA and is the highest control level attributed to declared pests. C1 prohibited organisms may only be imported and kept subject to permits. Permit conditions applicable to some species may only be appropriate or available to research organisations or similarly secure institutions.

Declared bulb species can be purchased over the internet on international sites. However, the importing of plant material into Australia is highly regulated due to the biosecurity risks. Australia’s Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)  has all the information you need to know about any plant material you may want to purchase over the internet, including whether or not the plant is declared and/or not permitted.

The recent finding of the high risk bulb in the Peel region has highlighted the need for gardeners to become informed on the pest potential their garden bulb species may have, especially since pest plants escaping from private gardens is the most common way of becoming established in bushland.

Bulbs and what they mean for the bush-

Bulbs are plants that are generally spring flowering and reproduce and spread from corms and bulbs. In bushland they can quickly become a problem as the corms and bulbs are protected in the soil from extreme weather conditions and the plants are also drought tolerant. The bulbs can even be protected from fires and herbicide use allowing the plant to continue to spread.

Black Flag an interesting garden plant with a peculiar smell and black flowers. Invasive in bushland.

Black flag (Ferraria crispa) is a popular bulb purchased due to its unusual succulent looking bracts and leaves, even with an unpleasant odour from its black flowers. Black flag has a high reproductive capacity and will seed prolifically, producing stacked corms that make it very hard to treat with chemicals.

A white flowered bulb garden plant that is toxic to stock. Invasive in bushand.

Chincherinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides) is extremely invasive and highly toxic to livestock. This bulb should be carefully considered before planting if the surrounding landscape includes farmland, lifestyle blocks, national parks or urban reserves.

How do they get into bushland?-

The most common way ornamental gardening species find their way into bushland is through inappropriate management and disposal. The illegal dumping of garden waste in bushland areas creates a big problem in the spread of declared and invasive weeds.

Solirisation can be achieved by placing a plastic sheet on the ground and weighing it down with bricks.

Solarisation can be achieved with a large plastic sheet and weights.

When working on bulb species in the garden bag up any plant material, soil and/or the corms or bulbs. Leave the bag out in the sun for a couple of weeks before disposing into the general rubbish, you can also solarise larger areas of soil using plastic sheeting. Be aware that composting alone will not kill the corms or bulbs and gardeners should always be aware of the dispersal of plants and seeds from their own garden into the wider area. If you live close to natural bushland areas or alongside livestock then think hard about what you introduce and cultivate in your private garden.

 

 

Please do not dump garden waste into our native bush and make sure you bag up loose corms or bulbs when disposing of garden waste. Declared pest management cost the entire community so do your part.

What shall I do if I see one?-

A list of the common bulb species found in our bushland can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Food website. If you see a bulb species out in bushland then use the MyWeedWatcher App to report it. You can also contact the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group for control information on declared pests.

The MedFly

Fruit fly underdone in homemade recipes-

Fruit fly is a major agricultural pest in Western Australia. Mediterranean fruit fly more commonly known as the Med Fly is a major problem for commercial orchardists and landholders.

Fruit fly attacks a large range of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Historically, fruit fly was,  controlled with the use of a pesticide called Fenthion- this was controversially banned in 2015. Fenthion was used to reduce the effect of the Med Fly on WA growers while also providing a tool to prevent the insurgence of the Queesland Fruit Fly (also given a nickname, QFly).

The Qfly lands in Perth-

In late 2015, five Perth Suburbs were quarantined after eight QFly males were caught in surveillance traps. Costing the Department of Agriculture and Food hundreds of thousands of dollars the five affected suburbs were restricted in the movement of fresh fruits and vegetables until the all clear was given. Now Tasmania and South Australia are the only states to have the clear QFly status and the implications for trade with WA is still unknown.

This large output of energy and resources goes to show the seriousness of even a small outbreak of eight flies can be and the effort DAFWA puts into biosecurity to prevent the spread of pests.

Now that Fenthion has been banned in the control of fruit fly there are many different homemade recipes available to help landowners monitor and control fruit fly in their area.

Homemade traps for fruit fly control-

The simple traps below can be made with ingredients and equipment found easily in the home, check out everydayroots.com for more traps ideas.

Don’t forget to use the Pest App from DAFWA to ID any bugs caught!

 

 The Apple Cider Trap- Fruit flies can’t resist the smell of fermentation, and since apple cider vinegar is from fermented apples, it’s a dream drink to them. Heat the vinegar beforehand to release more of its irresistible fragrance.

fruit fly trap made from a paper funnel, jar and apple cider vinegar

This apple cider vinegar trap lure fruit flies in.

 

Equipment-

A mason jar or something similar, a funnel (you can make one yourself), ½ cup of apple cider vinegar, a drop of dish washing soap, and a piece of ripe or overripe fruit (optional).

Heat up the apple cider vinegar and pour into your jar. Add a few drops of dishwashing soap to break up the surface of the liquid and prevent the flies from sitting on the surface. Roll up a piece of paper to make a funnel and place it in the top of the jar, the flies will follow the funnel down but won’t be able to find their way out and will drown. If you find the flies aren’t drowning you can place the whole trap in the freezer for 15-30 minutes until the flies have died.  You can either replicate the trap or continue to use the same one.

 

The Jar Type Trap- Use the fruit flies weakness to lure then in – fermenting fruit

fruit fly trap made from ripe fruit in a jar with plastic wrap with hols poked in.

Everyday kitchen items make a handy fruit fly trap.

Equipment- A glass jar, plastic wrap, a toothpick, some very ripe or overripe produce, and some soapy water.

Put your rotting and/or very ripe fruit in the bottom of a jar. Cover the top of the jar with plastic wrap, secure with a rubber band, and poke holes in the plastic using a toothpick. Put the traps in places fruit flies are congregating and when the trap is full you can submerge in hot soapy water or place in the freezer.

Community responsibility in fruit fly control-

With the new restrictions on pesticides, growers are now at the mercy of good husbandry from landowners in the control of fruit fly. To help reduce fruit fly residents can remove ripening fruit and pick up fallen fruit around trees.

Don’t forget burying ripening fruit does not control fruit fly as the larvae can still emerge from the soil.

For more species or control information on the fruit fly visit the Department of Food and Agriculture website here.