This section describes in more detail the actions taken on this property to manage exotic plants (weeds).
It begins with a Weeds Policy Statement that also ties in with the local Council where I attend Council Noxtious Weeds Meetings as a representative of our local Landcare group. Attending these meetings gives us an oppertunity to offer views and contribute to a progressive management program with weed control.
The Local Council is the directive body for the enforcement of the Council policy under the guidence of State Government laws on weeds. Their activities include inspections, reports and educational programs in conjunction with other interest groups.
The document, Routine – Weed Management on Knockalong was written to support the weed management activities. ALG must be managed on a paddock to paddock basis as stock are the carriers and will spread the weed far and wide.
Mapping is done so that the information is accessable to all interested parties not present in the memory of the land manager alone. To begin with you may use a topographic map of your property, photocopy the specific areas, print out and draw your paddock fences onto that sheet. An example of one such document can be seen here.
I use “screen-shots” directly from Google Maps or Google Earth in order to access greater detail. This enables a more detailed dokumentation of weeds. I “paste” the screen-shot into the Paint application so I can cropp the area I want to use. I than “cut & paste” that chosen image into a Windows Word document so I can add objects and text and via the “shapes” or “Text Box” tools under the “Insert” tab. An example of a weeds paddock map can be viewed here. This is a relatively cheap way of documenting, though it require some hours to learn the details of the Word tools. Alternatively there are mapping programs that can be purchased.
On Knockalong we have identified and prioritised those weeds that require control as part of our Weed Control Program. The Weed Prioritising 2015 document is an “active” document that is updated as seasonal change and success/failure of control methods effect the control.
The document prioritises the weeds relative to a number of factors to give a points value for each weed.
Presence Factor relates to the abundance of the infestations, the Control Factor relates to the difficulty of controlling the weed (its seed viability, longevity and resistance). The evaluation looks at the ecological and economical consequences of not controlling the existing weeds. These values are of course subjective but can lead to valuation that offers a more objective result.
There is also seasonal variation where some weeds develop/germinate earlier than others. They need to be dealt with when the methods/chemicals are best suited to the specific stage of growth and that may affect the order/priority in which weeds are treated
In conjunction with this is the Weed Priority & Progress – Knockalong spread sheet that is used to evaluate the progress of control of weeds seasonally.
The growing season of 2014-2015 was seemingly a never-ending growth period that resulted in germinating a great bulk of seed. This placed an extra burden on the weed control program that required extra recources to keep “on top” of the weeds prescence.
African lovegrass went mad, and required the addition of Grid-walking all areas of paddocks infested with this weed. Many plants were found with many additional pegs placed to mark plant sites. Attached is the documentation of that process that required revisiting the established areas repeatadly throught the season. See Weed Control Back-House paddock -Jan 2015.
This growth development also effected the evaluation of the control of weeds in the spread sheet mentioned. While the workload was a burden on available recources it was also a great opportunty to remove the “dormant” seed that had germinated.
Safron thistle was also very active this season as it´s dormant seed germinated at pegged sites that have been barren for years.
Hopefully this information is a resource that may aid other land managers to better manage their weeds.