Invasive weed warning for Pilbara


A De Grey Catchment Development Group representative has returned from Queensland with warnings about out-of-control, invasive weeds for local farmers.

Blythe Calnan, the chosen delegate for De Grey, attended the Northern Beef Research Update Conference and visited several stations in Queensland over the five-day trip.

She said the stand-out issue was the effects of weeds such as prickly acacia on farm land.

“In the Julia Creek area, one property we went to was 60,000 hectares and about 20,000 of that was unusable due to weed invasion,” Ms Calnan said.

“Most of our invasive weeds in the Pilbara are in the fairly manageable stages, and it really brought it home for me that we can’t just wait around for a potential biological control or for them to do their own thing because there’s a potential for them to get out of hand.”

The group Ms Calnan was representing — made up of Yarrie, Warrawagine, De Grey and Limestone stations — was a segment of a branch of the De Grey Land Care District Committee.

Ms Calnan said it was interesting to see how producers were managing with the drought in Queensland in places like McKinlay.

“The differences in properties — things like the fence line comparisons (to the Pilbara) — are just amazing, with the management styles and strategies some people are coping, and for those who haven’t prepared there’s just not a blade of anything in the paddocks,” she said.

A few days into the trip Ms Calnan got a look at a walk-over weighing trial, a system where by reading the electric tag on beef they could be drafted in different directions from somewhere like a watering point.

“For instance, you could select everything over 400kg to go into one yard and everything under to go straight back out, in theory you could do it for weening or unmarked animals,” she said.

“(It) was pretty interesting for us because there are about two walkover weighing projects looking at going into the Pilbara at the moment … it could be an interesting way for thefuture.”

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