News

Plague of grass

Mooloo’s Angel Santana says Australia faces a weed plague emergency.
Mooloo’s Angel Santana says Australia faces a weed plague emergency. Renee Pilcher

ANGEL Santana is an increasingly desperate man.

The Mooloo property owner says his postcard-perfect "tree change" acreage is stricken with what he calls "a cancer of the land".

"It's ripping me apart," said the man who wanted nothing more than to give his grandchildren somewhere fun to play when visiting grandad.

The menace is giant rat's tail grass, a noxious weed which neighbour and farmer Len Carlson says threatens to destroy a large share of Australia's agricultural productivity.

Both yesterday said the weed had become a silent killer of the Australian economy, a "sleeping giant" of a pest, rapidly spreading and often unnoticed.

As pasture, it is so tough it wears out the teeth of cattle.

Some say it makes horses crazy as well.

"This is all through the Wide Bay area, from Conondale and Kenilworth to Bundaberg and beyond," Mr Santana said.

"It's an infestation that's been out of control for years."

He says federal and state governments needed to recognise that weeds, especially this one, had become a national emergency.

"What could have been dealt with for millions of dollars if it had been recognised and acted on earlier, will now cost billions to wipe out," he said.

Mr Carlson agreed.

"I think I can say that we don't have it on our property, but the floods spread it everywhere and we have to be on watch constantly," he said.

Cattle eat it and spread it through manure. So do horses and pigs. So do vehicles.

"We make the meter reader wash his car down before he comes onto the property," Mr Carlson said.

Mr Santana, an invalid pensioner, says he cannot afford the weed killer or the stress.

 

Giant rat's tail grass facts:

The noxious weed is an epidemic in many Gympie Region areas.

It is a perennial grass growing to 1.7 metres high when seeding.

It occurs as a weed in pastures and bushland areas, particularly on poorer soils.

It produces leaf blades that are tough and difficult for cattle to graze, leading to reduced feed intake and reduced animal production.

It loosens teeth of cattle and horses while grazing and causes losses in carrying capacity and decreases production by up to 80%.

The African native is an aggressive grass that can reduce pasture productivity and cause significant degradation of natural areas.

It was originally introduced around the early 1960s in contaminated pasture seed.

GRT grass is a Class 2 declared pest plant under Queensland legislation.

The weed is capable of producing up to 85,000 seeds per square metre in a year, with initial seed viability of about 90% - and it can remain viable for up to 10 years.

For more information visit www.dpi.qld.gov.au and search Giant rat's tail grass.

Gympie Times

Topics:  gympie weed



No concrete plans for Kybong servo staff

Matilda the kangaroo is at the Matilda Service Station at Kybong.

There are serious fears for 50 to 60 local jobs

Why everyone should do a Roadcraft course

DRIVEN BY SAFETY: Glen Jocumsen with one of the Roadcraft fleet.

'They don't realise their car is that good but they're that bad'

They're a new level of silly

TOO FAR? Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is in Colin's crosshairs this week.

Colin feels the section 44C saga has sunk to a new low

Local Partners

What's on the small screen this week

JESSICA Marais returns in The Wrong Girl and The Block's kids bedrooms are sure to inspire.

Playing Tom Cruise's wife was a dream for Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in American Made.

The actress stars opposite Cruise in the action comedy

GALLERY: Fun and fashion at the races

Monica Belz.

Fashion and fun meet at the Gympie Showgrounds

Taylor Swift wipes presence off social media

Singer Taylor Swift has deleted her social media accounts

Social media wipeout prompts rumours of a new album

What's On? 10 things to see and do this week

Judah Kelly will be rocking the Muster stage this week

There's plenty to see and do this week

Swedish TV drama turns up heat

Louise Nyvall stars in the Swedish TV series Farang.

Scandinavian crime thriller goes troppo

Aboriginal artists' call to action

Anwar Young, winner of this year's overall prize and last year's young artist prize.

Important messages of survival and healing

New Gympie real estate mag has everything you need

Look out for SOLD ON in The Gympie Times on Wednesday.

The first Gympie edition of Sold On will be out on Wednesday

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.