Early weed detection is the key

Accidental weed introductions continue to rise with the increased movement of people and vehicles in and out of managed and natural areas.

Weed management, early detection, strategic planning and swift action can mean the difference between expensive ongoing management and a successful eradication program. The Weed Management Branch uses an Incident Action Plan (IAP) decision making framework to ensure that the response to new high priority weeds is planned swiftly and effectively.

Parthenium weed costs Queensland producers more than $22m annually in reduced production and increased management costs. In October 2018 a new incursion of Parthenium weed was detected in the Katherine region. An IAP has assisted the land holder and the Weed Management Branch with the successful management and potential future eradication of this very significant threat to industry. Monitoring surveys at the incursion site are ongoing with the number of individual seedlings being found decreasing steadily over the dry season. A Weed Spread Prevention Plan has been put in place by the land holder to minimise the risk of weed spread.

Rubber vine infestation affects a wide range of landscapes in Queensland but has not yet established in the Northern Territory.  A recent incursion near the Queensland/NT border is currently under management by the landholder and the Weed Management Branch. More than 500 plants were found and treated in March 2019. Follow up monitoring and control efforts by the land holder have resulted in an excellent level of management of this particular weed infestation. Further surveillance target areas are being prioritised with survey work planned later in 2019.

An IAP allows for collaboration and coordination of control efforts, but equally as important is the best practise weed data management that it delivers. This includes the trace back of probable incursion pathways and the prediction of future infection risks. An IAP allows for the identification and prioritisation of likely areas of risk rather than simply waiting for the next weed to be found.

The Weed Management Branch is currently finalising surveillance priorities for Parthenium weed and rubber vine across the Katherine and Barkly regions. Pastoral properties have assisted with this essential work by contributing to a survey earlier in 2019. If you would like to talk to a weed management officer, please call 8973 8857 or for more information visit the Northern Territory Government website.

Proactive planning and sharing the load makes future weed incursions easier and cheaper to manage. We’re all in this together!

Last updated: 25 September 2019

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