Weeds after Fire, Drought and flood
The risk of weed invasion and their impact on farms and the environment dramatically increases during and after an emergency such as drought, fire or flood.
When dealing with other pressing emergency response and recovery issues, the spread of weeds can often be overlooked. It is not until some months after the emergency that it becomes obvious that the weed impact may be a very costly legacy to the farmer.
To minimise this risk, farmers and land managers can implement some simple actions which will save money, environmental values and avoid future stress whilst recovering from an emergency.
One activity that poses a great risk of weed invasion during and after an emergency is the movement and importation of hay and grain as stockfeed onto farmland. Be especially careful of feed imported from interstate, which could potentially introduce new weed species to the Monaro. This handy booklet identifies some of these risky weeds and shows where they originate.
What can you do?
Consider Stockfeed on farm
Check the origin of your hay or grain stockfeed. Has it come from a known weed-infested area? Ask the supplier for written certification on any potential weed content.
Keep records of purchased hay or grain stockfeed, record the details of:
- location sourced and producer
- date purchased
- transporter and
- your feed-out location
Feed-out in a confined area away from drainage lines (stock containment areas) to reduce the likelihood of weeds being spread throughout your property.
Monitor feed-out areas regularly and be suspicious of unfamiliar plants that germinate. Call Council’s Biosecurity officers to help with weed identification.
Transporting hay or grain stockfeed:
Care should be taken to avoid the spread of weeds onto road reserves and adjacent land. Measures to minimise the risk of weed spread include:
- Vehicles are cleaned down between deliveries.
- Vehicle cleaning should occur in a designated area to prevent weed dispersal and contain new infestations for easier monitoring and management.
- During drought, keep an eye on farm tracks and local roadsides and for 12 months afterwards, to detect new weed infestations.
Other Farming Activities:
Ensure that the vehicles and equipment of contractors/advisors are clean and free of weeds before entering and leaving your property to clean dams, cart water or carry out other works.
Use contractors that are committed to vehicle/machinery hygiene. Don’t be shy to ask about their vehicle hygiene procedures.
Fire and recovery
Firefighting activities may spread weeds – monitor areas burnt by bushfires for weed germination.
Ensure that vehicles and equipment of contractors/advisors are clean and free of weeds before entering and leaving your property to replenish water supplies, rehabilitate fire breaks, clear fence lines and re-establish vegetation.
Flood and recovery
Weed seeds and plant matter can easily be spread by water flow across bare ground during rain events. Monitor areas previously flooded for 12 months afterwards to detect new weed infestations. Weed seeds can easily attach to vehicles and equipment in muddy conditions and when being moved between properties to repair flood damage and assist with recovery. This can pose a high risk of weed spread. Ensure that the vehicles and equipment of contractors/advisors are clean and free of weeds before entering and leaving your property. If necessary, you can provide cleaning equipment and a designated wash down area for this purpose.