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TAS Country : February 10th 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011 Tasmanian Country 3 News Raiders win tug of war against ragwort FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: Peter de Bomford and his son Ben, 11, from Pipers River, take part in the Tamar NRM's annual ragwort raid. Picture: BRUCE MOUNSTER BRUCE MOUNSTER FIFTEEN years ago Tamar Valley roadsides were festooned with ragwort, but now the Tamar NRM's annual ragwort raid is more like a game of ''spot the plant''. Agricultural consultant David Armstrong, who keeps a map on his laptop of ragwort outbreaks covering about 600km of roadsides, said that after 14 years volunteers were reaching the point where they were dealing with individual plants. Instead of truckloads, they are pulling barrow-loads. But he said the scarcity of ragwort was no excuse for volunteers to relax -- they know that if ragwort survivors are spared, the weed can quickly bounce back. Mr Armstrong said that by removing ragwort from roadsides, the volunteers were providing property owners with an incentive to control their own weeds. NRM volunteer and Pipers River farmer Brian Baxter said recently volunteers had ratcheted up that incentive by offering to pull ragwort on local farms. Mr Baxter said a couple of farms were now largely free of the weed after owners, inspired by volunteers, had stepped up to the plate. Saturday's ragwort raid was a collaboration between Tamar NRM and Pipers River Fire Brigade volunteers. Peter de Bomford and son Ben, 11, patrolled the Karoola- Pipers River road in a fire truck. After about half an hour, they could count on one hand the number of ragwort plants they pulled. Another group of volunteers arrived back at the fire station with a trailer-load of ragwort, evidence that there are still pockets of heavy infestation. On Sunday a second party raided West Tamar roadsides. Four grass weeds pose new threat KAROLIN MacGREGOR 'Productivity will decrease significantly and there will be a considerable cost to control and manage the weeds.' FOUR potentially devastating grass weeds could be the next to be added to Tasmania's declared weed list under plans revealed by the State Government this week. Primary Industries and Water Minister Bryan Green said all four weeds posed a significant threat to the state's environment and agricultural production. Comments from interested groups are being sought by the State Government on listing Mexican feather grass, Texas needle grass, lobed needle grass and cane nee- dle grass un- der the Tas- manian Weed Management Act. ''Texas nee- dle grass was recently found in southern Tas- mania, but none of the ot- her three species are known to occur in the state,'' Mr Green said. ''However, their presence in neighbouring Victoria in- creases the risk of the plants being spread here.'' Mr Green said declaring the weeds under the act would increase the state's ability to control cross-border move- ments of the plants. All four grass belong to the genus Nassella. Two other highly invasive weeds from the Nassella genus, serrated tuss- ock and Chilean needle grass occur in the state and have been declared under the act. Mr Green warned that the establishment of any additional Nassella species would have a significant impact, particularly on sheep graziers. ''Productivity will decrease significantly and there will be a considerable cost to control and manage the weeds,'' he said. ''Mainland experience has shown that the Nassella species pose a major threat to native veg- etation com- munities, par- ticularly remnant native grass- lands. Mr Green said at least two of the species, along with serrated tussock, also have signifi- cant fire man- agement implications and are known to increase both the frequency and intensity of fires. Interested groups are being invited to comment on the proposed declarations. Comments can be made to the DPIPWE website, under the public comments section. Comments can be made up to March 7. Introducing FAT STRIPE, the new high grade 800kPa green stripe pipe and fittings from PPI, creators of the original green stripe pipe. Pump further, faster and hotter for no extra cost! And it's GUARANTEED NOT TO LEAK FOR 25 YEARS. PPI Corporation Pty Ltd -- For more information contact your local rural supplies store or go to www.fatstripe.com.au FAT STRIPE Pipe FAT STRIPE Fittings += 25 Year No Leak Guarantee
February 3rd 2011
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