Red poppy risk to crops, pastures

The West Australian
Avoid planting poppies along roads and farm entrances.
Camera IconAvoid planting poppies along roads and farm entrances. Credit: Countryman

Rural West Australians who plan to commemorate the Anzac centenary this year by planting red poppies should do so with care, according to the Department of Agriculture and Food.

Department grains biosecurity officer Jeff Russell said community interest in remembering the original Anzacs and commemorating more than a century of service by Australian servicemen and women by planting poppies could impact on crops and pastures if not done carefully.

"The red field poppy is synonymous with Anzac and Remembrance days but it is important to note that the plant is a pest of crops and pastures and has the potential to impact on crop yields," Mr Russell said.

"The red field poppy and its cousin, the rough poppy, are now quite common. They are likely to have escaped backyard gardens many years ago and are known to make themselves at home in paddocks in the South West.

"High densities of poppies have the potential to impact on crop yields, although more often than not they are found growing on disturbed land and roadsides."

Mr Russell suggested people who plan to mass-plant poppies avoid planting poppies along roads and farm entrances to prevent inadvertently causing an ongoing problem in future years.

"Rural residents should be mindful of their location with respect to farming properties and vacant land, and grow poppies at a safe distance from farmland to help prevent seeds being transported by wind, water or people," Mr Russell said.

"People should also have a plan in place for the removal of poppies following their main flowering, to reduce the chance of seed dispersal."

Rural communities may choose to leave a more lasting legacy of remembrance by incorporating poppies into art and sculpture displayed in rural towns.

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