BY IVAN CARTER, VSTWP EXTENSION OFFICER, 2018
John Pelham runs Angus Cattle on his 100 hectare farmlet in the high rainfall area around Bullengarook. The property has a mix of volcanic soil and fertile dark loam soils, lending itself to productive small-scale farming.
Serrated tussock was known to exist further south towards Bacchus Marsh, but had not been observed on John’s farm or in the Bullengarook region until recently. At first John was sure the serrated tussock was a native grass, which was common in the bushland behind his paddocks at the rear of his property.
Photo 1: The infestation of serrated tussock prior to treatment.
In the Spring of 2017 the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP) Extension Officer Ivan Carter, attended John’s farm as part of a larger extension project in the region. During the inspection a small but dense infestation of serrated tussock was discovered at the back of his farm. The infestation consisted of around 50 plants, which had spread over 5 hectare around the farms boundary to the rear. John noted “It was surprising to find these plants were not the native tussock,”. “It was excellent to be able to see both plants beside each other, so the extension officer could show me how to best tell these plants apart”.
John worked over a number of weeks to remove the serrated tussock plants, before they developed seeds, and has began regular inspections . “I have been speaking to my neighbours, who have similar issues with serrated tussock, and we have agreed to all stay on top of it together” noted John.
Photo 2: Removal of all serrated tussock plants, with only native tussocks reamining in the background