African Lovegrass in Bega
African Lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) (ALG) invasion is having a significant impact on the economic viability of farming in large areas of the Bega Valley. Additionally it poses a significant threat to the threatened Lowland Grassy Woodland ecological community. Springvale Landcare recognising the ongoing impacts of ALG and its potential to become even more widespread across the Bega Valley and beyond were successful in obtaining a grant from the Federal government to carry out research into improved management techniques to help land managers deal with the problem.
The importance of this issue to the wider Bega Valley farming community was recognised with the initial grant providing the impetus for a partnership between Springvale Landcare, Far South Coast Landcare Association (FSCLA), the Far South Coast Farmers Network and South East Local Land Services along with additional funding from South East LLS, and FSCLA. The project engaged Dr Josh Dorrough, a grassland ecologist, to carry out research into different control methods, the impact of the weed on stocking rates and the viability of the underlying native pasture to recover if intervention was carried out. The project provided an opportunity for further collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and Wollongong University to assist with the project research and extend their own research into the impacts, management and farmer perceptions of ALG.
Research results indicated that early treatment of ALG prevented the loss of 50% or more of normal stocking rates as compared to being left untreated. The economic viability of different management techniques was carried out with roller wiping shown to be one of the most effective and economically viable methods of control if carried out methodically and with good technique. The project has produced two information sheets that farmers can use to assist in making good decisions on controlling ALG: Information Sheet 1 looks at the effect of ALG on stocking rate, the economic viability of control, the soil seedbank and native pasture recovery potential and other management strategies; Information Sheet 2 looks specifically at roller wiping as a control, its effectiveness, the technique and the economics of the method.
A recent field day releasing this information to the farming community saw 50 farmers gather to hear about the research findings and many more have indicated that they would like to know more about ways to effectively manage ALG showing the importance of this research to the farming community.
Senior Land Services Officer
0427 667 045