Drought troubles doubled by weed in fodder
AT A time when many of Australia's farmers are facing drought, an AgForce representative said the same aid that farmers are receiving could possibly be detrimental to their crops and cattle.
Chair of AgForce Weeds and AgVet Committee Ivan Naggs warns that farmers need to be aware of weeds, in fodder that has been transported to them, that could degrade their land.
Mr Naggs said that once you have weeds introduced to your property it is a long hard battle to get rid of them.
"In a dry time your natural pastures are down and most of these weeds don't like competition so away they go, and they're not nutritional for cattle," he said.
"It's been proven that seeds of the giant rat's tail can last in the soil for up to 12 years."
The Central and North Burnett Times recently reported that a Queensland farmer had to have hay brought in from as far as South Australia, 2,400 kilometres away.
"I have to say it [hay being transported interstate] does worry me but it's about being very cautious that we don't get any of the weeds they've got down south brought up here," Mr Naggs said.
"I know we have different climates in different states but with climate change we're seeing different weeds we've never seen before."
Mr Naggs said recipients of hay should ask for a Fodder Declaration Form, to be supplied by the person who sold the hay.
"If they are a reliable source, or a supplier, they should be aware of what weeds they have on their property," he said.
"A lot of the hay that's being transported is coming off farmed pasture but a lot of people are baling hay because they've got paddocked hay and in that is where the dangers lie.
"Here in Central Queensland and South East Queensland, with a lot of road grass or side grass, you have to be aware of giant rat's tail or sporobolus grasses which are a class 2."
Mr Naggs commended the charitable Australians helping others and doing the right thing.
"But they must be aware that all these good intentions, these short term gains, might cause long term pain.
"I'm not putting down those people who are doing the right thing, I'm just advising the recipients of the hay to be very mindful of what is coming out.
"They should be aware of where their hay is coming from and ask those questions."
Mr Naggs added that if there is any uncertainty farmers should feed their cattle in a confined area.
"Then they know once the grass has passed through, in the form of manure, they will be able to confine any possible weeds in a smaller area versus it spreading right across their property," he said.
"I know that's difficult to do but if they can see some way of doing that it's going to be better for them."
Mr Naggs said if there is one message people should remember it is to ask where there hay is coming from.
"Please ask where it came from, a few questions now will save a lot of long-term pain."