North west Queensland’s War on Western Weeds initiative was recognised this week with a state award for its effective networking and partnerships that are containing the spread of prickly acacia.
The George Batianoff Team Excellence Award was awarded to WoWW team representatives during the biennial Queensland Weeds Symposium, in Port Douglas.
The WoWW initiative enabled state and local governments, regional natural resource management groups, researchers, equipment innovators, herbicide suppliers, industry and land managers to come together and co-develop cost-effective adaptive management for prickly acacia, in an area stretching from Cloncurry to Charters Towers.
The $1.8M collaborative woody weed project funded through Biosecurity Queensland resulted in comparative trials, costings and widespread adoption of several innovative techniques such as Epple’s Skatter Gun, helidrops, tree saws, misting permits and wide adoption of property buffers through the Good Neighbour Policy.
In nominating the WoWW initiative for the Batianoff Team Excellence Award, AgForce highly commended the effective and practical project leadership from Nathan March based at DAF Cloncurry.
Nathan worked with the Flinders Shire Council’s Good Neighbour concept, which has resulted in 300 producers implementing property buffers over several western Queensland shires.
WoWW advisory group member, Scott Harrington, Brinard Station, Julia Creek said it had given people a vision to enable many people to take action.
“They discovered a 10 metre property boundary buffer was feasible to do at a cost ranging from $40 to $400 per kilometre depending on terrain, equipment and initial prickly acacia density,” he said.
Ivan Naggs, AgForce weeds committee chair, told the presentation that the group looked forward to more weed management initiatives using the WoWW project formula to increase widespread success and adoption.
“Congratulations to the entire WoWW project team and advisory group on this prestigious team excellence award from the Weed Society of Queensland,” he said.
Led by Nathan March, the WoWW team members included Dr Wayne Vogler, Dr Shane Campbell, Dr Emma Carlos, Kelsey Hosking (DAF Charters Towers); Dr Dhileepan (DAF biological control); and Samantha Cullen (Southern Gulf NRM).
The WoWW advisory group was made up of Scott Harrington (Julia Creek grazier and AgForce representative), Jenni Gray (Remote Area Planning and Development Board), Ninian Stewart-Moore (grazier/Flinders Shire Council/AgForce member), Robyn Young (Flinders Shire Council), John Bellingham (grazier and Southern Gulf NRM representative), Charles Curry (Southern Gulf NRM), and Peter Spence (Desert Channels Qld).
Results from WoWW community-based research into prickly acacia management include:-
- Case studies on the benefits of good neighbour policy for weed-free property boundary buffer zones,
- Detecting pod maturity,
- Buried seed longevity with five per cent viability after eight years,
- Pod buoyancy in still water for up to 18 days and in agitated water up to 12 days,
- Confirming seeds can be transported seven kilometres downstream however most are deposited within 500 metres,
- Seven days for mature seeds to pass through cattle,
- Helidrop technology costing $1.50 per tree (including tebuthiuron herbicide) for scattered mature infestations up to 35 plants per hectare, and
- Epple’s SkatterGun (including herbicide) costing between $40 to $123 per hectare for treating low (<50 plants per hectare) to medium densities (up to 400 plants per hectare).