STAMP IT OUT: Bundaberg Regional Council senior land protection officer Eric Dyke with Giant Rats Tail grass.
STAMP IT OUT: Bundaberg Regional Council senior land protection officer Eric Dyke with Giant Rats Tail grass. COntributed

Discussion to cover all you need to know on giant rats tail

BUNDABERG region landholders are invited to attend a farm walk to discuss Giant Rats Tail (GRT) control.

Biocontrol of the Bundaberg region's most invasive pest plant will be under the microscope at a field day to be held in Gin Gin tomorrow.

Native to Africa, (GRT) grass is a long, upright grass that forms large tussocks.

Like other weedy sporobolus grasses, it is an aggressive grass that can reduce pasture productivity and significantly degrade natural areas.

Giant rat's tail grass was introduced to Australia around the early 1960s in contaminated pasture seed.

Bundaberg Regional Council Environment and Natural Resources spokesman Bill Trevor said GRTgrass posed a major threat to the region's farmers and producers.

"GRT spreads incredibly quickly, invading pastures, reducing stocking rates and, as a result, impacting land values,” Cr Trevor said.

"Once it has taken hold, GRT is extremely difficult to eradicate which is why Council has joined forces with other agencies to assist landholders in controlling its spread.

"Currently landholders rely on a combination of chemical and mechanical controls coupled with changes in land management practises to reduce its impact with no single option on its own being totally effective.”

However Cr Trevor said Biosecurity Queensland, with support from industry and Local Government, had received Federal Government funding to investigate biocontrol options for GRT.

"The focus of the research will see Biosecurity look further in to the possibilities surrounding agents from South Africa, where (GRT) originated, as well as home grown pathogens that may have an impact on this invasive grass.

"At this stage 23 pathogens have been identified for investigation.”

As part of this program, Bundaberg Regional Council has invited Biosecurity Queensland's principle researcher Joe Vitelli to the region to attend the field day and provide local landholders with an update on his biocontrol project.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Senior Extension Officer Damien O'Sullivan will also attend the field day to share the benefits of pasture grasses and grazing management to control this invasive species.

Paul Hubbard from Granular Products will provide a presentation on products that can assist in the management of GRT and Bundaberg Regional Council will provide an equipment demonstration.

The day will also include a farm walk to view impacts of some pathogens that are already in our region and how these affect GRT.

The Giant Rats Tail Grass Field Day and Farm Walk will be held from 10am to 12.30pm on Friday, at 150 Tableland Rd, Tirroan.

Morning tea and a barbecue lunch will be provided.

RSVP for catering purposes by calling 1300 883 699 or emailing nicole.miller@ bundaberg.qld.gov.au.



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