TRAILS are underway on two Atherton Tableland properties in a bid to eradicate the invasive weed navua sedge.
Biosecurity Queensland Entomologist Dr Dhileepan recently traveled to the Tablelands to meet with local farmers in a bid to control the species, which provides little feed value for cattle and quickly overtakes and smothers palatable tropical pasture species.
The Malanda Beef Plan Group, along with Hill MP Shane Knuth and Tablelands Regional Councillor Anthony Ball have been campaigning for the State and Federal governments for more resources to be allocated to combat navua sedge.
Now local farmers are working with Biosecurity Queensland and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to find a way to fight this noxious weed on the Atherton Tablelands.
Strategies to control navua sedge will be trialed on two Tableland properties over the next three years, to better understand how to manage the weed.
Rob Pagano, a Tarzali beef producer and Malanda Beef Plan Group member, is taking part in the project.
“This weed is affecting my pastures and reducing the carrying capacity of the land.” Mr Pagano said.
“It is spreading like wildfire around the Tablelands and into drier areas not usually associated with navua. This is really worrying.”
He said navua sedge could have a devastating impact on the Tablelands hay and grazing industries if action is not taken.
Dr Dhileepan will investigate biological control strategies which may be an additional tool to fight the weed.
Its seeds are spread in the droppings of animals and birds, and can be transported in mud on hooves, footwear, running water or machinery and/or vehicles.
The seed is viable for many years, so farmers can have years of trouble ahead of them if plants establish on their properties.
Mr Knuth said unless more resources were given to control navua sedge, the entire $7 billion east coast agricultural industry was under serious threat.
He said more needed to be done to prevent this becoming a biosecurity disaster.
Mr Knuth raised the issue in Parliament last week and asked Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner to put more resources into controlling navua sedge.