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Weed Contamination in Hay

With the drought taking a firm hold in Moree Plains Shire and graziers seek further afield for fodder to feed their starving stock, Council is concerned that hay from other districts could introduce weeds to the Shire.

Local fodder supplies are all but exhausted, which is forcing landholders to look outside the Shire and interstate for hay.

Council’s Senior Biosecurity Officer (Weeds) Ian Schwartz said ideally fodder should be sourced locally to reduce the chance of introducing weeds that are not present or known in the area, but in drought conditions that is unrealistic.

“The drought situation intensifies the risk of noxious weeds because it is really difficult to get fodder in Moree Plains, and farmers have to buy hay from unknown suppliers,” he said.

“Weed seeds may not be detectable at the time of purchase”.

“Hay brought in from outside the Shire can be contaminated with seeds from declared species such as Serrated Tussock, Parthenium and Chilean Needle Grass.”

Mr Schwartz said graziers can reduce the risk of introducing noxious weeds on their property through a few simple steps.

“Try to buy fodder from a known source, so there is some trace back should an incursion of new weeds occur, the General Biosecurity Duty will apply, as hay can be a carrier”

“Feed stock in the same place so if weeds germinate and grow, you will notice them and eradicate them before the spread throughout your property,” he said.

“If you have bought hay from another area, keep it away from water drainage areas to reduce the chance of weed spread and when it does rain, check for unfamiliar plants that may have germinated.

“The drought is costing landholders enough without the added burden of a possible outbreak of a biosecurity event to deal with afterwards,” said Mr Schwartz.

Graziers can discuss any concerns related to weed contamination with Council’s Biosecurity Officers Ian Schwartz or Don Mackenzie by telephoning 6757 3222.