As the drought continues to tighten its grip on the Parkes Shire, landholders should remain aware of the risk of weed seed spread when buying grain or hay to feed livestock. “Livestock feed can contain numerous weed seeds, and as stockfeed is being transported long distances, it can pose a significant threat to agricultural production and biosecurity with potentially negative impacts for both cropping and pasture enterprises,” said Parkes Shire Council’s Director Infrastructure, Andrew Francis.
To minimise the risk of spreading weed seed, Council advises landholders to follow Plant Health Australia’s Biosecurity Manual for Grain Producers (2017) by taking the following precautions:
* Check the origin of the hay or grain, request a commodity vendor declaration and ask the seller what weeds were present at the time of cutting hay.
* Observe any restrictions on the movement of plant material interstate and within states.
* Check hay for weeds as you feed out: this may alert you to future issues.
* If possible source locally grown feed.
* Feed stock in a designated quarantine paddock: this will limit the area where weed seeds are dispersed for easier monitoring and management after rain. Keep stock in paddock after feeding for sufficient time for them to empty out.
* Feed away from watercourses to reduce risk of weed spread.
* Monitor hay and grain storage areas, paddocks and roadways for new weeds.
* Post rain, identify any new weeds for appropriate control strategies.