What an interesting 12 months it has been that have passed. Most farmers and graziers I would think, would be happy to have behind us. A short Spring followed by a severe Summer, with lots of hot and dry weather, and a late autumn break has offered little relief for most graziers. Pastures have felt the pressure, and more robust perennial pastures have been pushed hard, allowing greater broadleaf weed invasion. Each locality, farm and/or paddock will have its own weed issues. Any one or a combination of thistles including Saffron, Variegated, St Barnabys, Spear (Black) and True Scotch thistles seem to be prevalent. Capeweed and Paterson’s Curse could also be an issue in some localities.
However with the success of biological controls it may not be necessary to use herbicide control for Patersons Curse. MCPA or 2-4D Amine, often with spike rates of Clopyralid (Lontrel), can be used for control of most thistles. The addition of Turbutyn (Igran) may be necessary for effective control of Capeweed. This should be applied as soon as possible, avoiding temperatures above 18 degrees, and also before the capeweed gets too advanced. Where possible, thistle control should be undertaken as soon as practical, particularly on the slopes where early sub clover varieties will start flowering through August.