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TAS Country : August 19th 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010 Tasmanian Country 25 Beechwood Spraying spreads its reach to new challenges DIVERSE: Beechworth offers a tractor- mounted boom sprayer among a diverse range of machines. From a one-man operation offering spraying services on the North West Coast, Beechworth Spraying has grown to offer a diverse range of services to agriculture and forestry BEECHWORTH Spraying has been serving the rural industry since 1986. Back then it was a one- man operation that looked after clients from Burnie to Marrawah. In 1991, Richard Murrell joined the business, be- coming an integral part of growing Beechworth Spraying to a point where they now employ more than 20 people. Most are permanent employees. The firm now has 10 sprayrigs operating in the farming sector, comprising tractor mounted, tractor drawn (trailing) and four- wheel drive mounted rigs. The business operates mostly in Deloraine's west, but they also work in other areas at various times. Their first major expan- sion took place after Ric- hard and his family moved to Ulverstone in 1998 and they have expanded gradu- ally since they started servicing the forestry and plantation industries. The latter expansion has ground to a halt and con- tracted with the demise of ECI in 2008 and the undo- ing of Great Southern this year. They still have a large array of spray-rigs servic- ing the plantation and for- estry industries, including three large self-propelled units and a fleet of little units for interrow work, which are designed for maintenance work once the trees are planted. Good weed and pest con- trol is mandatory when growing successful crops, regardless of the crop type. Beechworth Spraying has the machines to do the job regardless of the ter- rain. They have a diverse range of machinery cap- able of doing other work on land. The latest machine be- ing developed is a one-pass operation for seeding, which incorporates a rip- per, rotary hoe, compactor roller and air-seeder, all mounted on a four-metre rotary hoe pulled by a 300 hp tractor. This machine is capable of deep-ripping, tillering, rolling and seeding in one pass, which usually takes three or four passes. Another service Beech- worth offers is mulching with a heavy-duty mulcher. This machine can mulch trees up to four or five metres high and will han- dle all forms of scrub and regrowth, including large mature gorse. Other services include slashing, draining, 20 tonne excavator, plus ground work with rotary tiller, rotary hoe, discs and rollers. In forestry they do mound ploughing, bed con- ditioning and slashing, as well as all forms of spray- ing, except aerial. noxious weed control grazing so that no bare patches develop. Chipping or spot spraying individual plants and small patches. Spot spraying and chipping is used to remove isolated or small patches of plants. The most common herbicide used for control of serrated tussock is Flupropanate (trade names Kenock, Tussock, Taskforce, Smack, Senock, Rambo). Chip isolated plants with a mattock preferably before the tussocks set seed. In wet conditions, remove soil from the roots. Do not chip out large patches of serrated tussock where a seed bank has built up because any soil disturbance will cause the germination of seeds. The optimum time to kill serrated tussock is when it is found. Therefore be prepared by keeping a mattock in the back of your ute. Once serrated tussock has been removed, it is important to replace it with improved pasture. If the area is left bare, tussock will re-invade the site. Cultivation or boom spraying large infestations. Serrated tussock can be boom or aerial sprayed with Flupropanate. Flupropanate will kill annual grasses and some native grasses, making re- seeding necessary. Replacing dead tussock with improved perennial pasture. After cultivation or spraying, an improved perennial pasture must be planted back to provide long-term control of serrated tussock. Serrated tussock seedlings which germinate are weak and slow to establish and therefore can be out competed with vigorous grasses. Improved introduced pasture species respond better to fertiliser than serrated tussock, therefore soil testing and adequate fertiliser use is important with pasture management for serrated tussock. Management to maintain a competitive perennial pasture. Serrated tussock can be successfully controlled using a program of cultivation, cropping and pasture improvement. Cultivation and cropping acts to reduce the seed reserves of serrated tussock available to germinate. Serrated tussock seedlings cannot emerge from being buried below 2 cm. Research has found chisel ploughing is not effective but mouldboard ploughing and disc ploughing are successful in burying the seed. Paddocks that cannot be cultivated have the disadvantage of not reducing the seed bank of serrated tussock before sowing pasture. Therefore every effort should be made to cultivate and crop. This program involves burning in winter and ploughing soon after to a depth of 10 cm. The paddock is left fallow and cultivated again in summer to remove any new tussocks. Cropping occurs for two years before sowing pasture to further reduce the reserve of tussock seed in the soil. Advice should be sought on the suitability of these cultivating techniques on specific areas of land in terms of soil erosion risk. To maintain a vigorous perennial pasture, fertiliser will need to be applied annually in autumn. Phosphorus (P) is generally a limiting nutrient and at least 11 kg P/ha: (equivalent to 125 kg/ha of superphosphate) needs to be applied each year. Avoid overgrazing, as this will encourage reinvasion of serrated tussock. Pasture should contain at least 80 per cent groundcover at all times. If the pasture becomes invaded with weeds other than serrated tussock, herbicide manipulation and/or rotational grazing could help to remove annual grasses or broadleaf weeds. Grazing Management Avoid grazing new pasture until pasture grasses and clovers have set seed. This allows young plants to fully develop and produce seed, which thickens up the pasture in the following year. In late summer, graze down surplus pasture to promote autumn regrowth and clover germination. Spell the new pasture for a month after the autumn break to encourage clover germination. Serrated tussock can germinate in response to rainfall in any season. It is critical to keep good pasture cover at all times to restrict the establishment of serrated tussock. Information from the publication Tasmanian Serrated Tussock Project. Copyright © 2006 Tasmanian Land and Water Professionals Pty Ltd. Know your enemy TOUGH STUFF: The almost invincible serrated tussock seed is a keen traveller. Landowners are required by law to manage serrated tussock, as a declared weed, on their land. Serrated tussock has the potential to infest 30 million hectares of land across Australia. The weed costs the Australian wool industry about $45 million per year in lost production. In its native Argentina it is called paja voladora, meaning flying straw, alluding to the ability of the seed head to be carried by the wind. It is speculated that the point of invasion in Tasmania was Sloping Is in Frederick Henry Bay. Peas were grown there in the early 1900s. Infestation found at Swansea may have been introduced from sheep moved from infested land at Carlton River. A management program in the 1970s reduced affected areas in Tasmania from 3200ha down to 800ha. 1ha of serrated tussock can produce more than 2 tonnes of seed per year. Seed can remain viable in an animal's gut for more than 10 days. Buried seeds can remain viable for up to 15 years. Serrated tussock is similar in appearance to some native grasses. Young plants retain green leaves in autumn, with bleached, straw coloured tips. Leaves feel serrated when run through the fingers from tip to base. Early action most effective Early intervention is one of the most effective strategies against weeds. The Tasmanian Weed Alert Network is a new group of volunteers on the look out for 40 serious new weeds in Tasmania. Its volunteers have already spotted and controlled target weeds across the state. The Network s target list of weeds includes serious new agricultural weeds such as African thistle, Bathurst burr, broomrapes, horsetails, kochia, Onopordum thistles and poverty weed. The Tasmanian Weed Alert Network needs volunteers from across Tasmania to be on the look out for target weeds, particularly people working in the cropping and livestock industries. We can offer you training and high quality identification material for our target weeds in exchange for your vigilance. MEMBERSHIP IS FREE. If you are interested please contact project officer Jonah Gouldthorpe on: 0410 059 027 / firstname.lastname@example.org The Tasmanian Weed alert Network is funded by the Tasmanian Community Fund. 2042842-100820
August 12th 2010
August 26th 2010