Weeds and biosecurity | Landholders Driving Change

Weeds and biosecurity – local action on big issues

Invasive weeds are a serious problem in North Queensland, threatening the region’s economic and environmental sustainability, and early intervention is key to management.
The Dry Tropics Pest Advisory Forum is hosting a free forum at the Collinsville Community Centre on Wednesday 28 March to promote awareness, seek landholder feedback and provide practical current best practice solutions to landholders and community interest groups to help manage priority weeds and on-farm biosecurity.
Regional Pest Management Project Officer Rachael Payne said the forum would focus on local issues, with input from Biosecurity Queensland, local government, industry and landcare representatives. She said it was an opportunity to learn about weeds and control methods and to network with weed control experts.
“The aim of the day is to provide tools, knowledge and support to landholders to help them effectively manage the impacts of weeds on their agricultural profitability and improve native habitat on their properties,” Ms Payne said.
“Weeds are a big inhibitor to the cattle industry.  They put our agriculture, our environment and our communities under pressure.
“However, management solutions are continually being developed and the forum is about sharing those solutions.
“Effective management requires region-wide, targeted treatment, and this is done through established local-level partnerships, leveraging significant co-contributions, and capitalising on the passion of the community tackling weed problems.
“It’s also an opportunity for landholders to voice how weed management issues affect them and the resources they deploy towards their control,” she said.
The forum will include presentations on third party property access obligations and biosecurity implications, and how grazing land management practices can manage weeds.  Field demonstrations of spray equipment and wash down equipment, as well as a discussion on on-farm wash down bay designs will also feature.
The Dry Tropics Pest Advisory Forum, a bi-annual event, is organised by the Burdekin Dry Tropics regional pest management group and includes representatives from local government, industry, landcare groups and NQ Dry Tropics.
Next week’s forum is being co-hosted with the Landholders Driving Change project, and is funded by the Queensland Government Queensland Reef Water Quality Program and Regional NRM Investment Program.
The forum starts at 9.30am, finishes at 4pm, with lunch and smoko provided. For further information contact Landholder Driving Change Land Management Support Coordinator Rodger Walker on 0408 828 276 or Landholder Driving Change Senior Field Officer Brendan Smith on 0417 408 587.

NQ Dry Tropics Regional Pest Management Project Officer Rachael Payne

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Figure 1. Total fine sediment reduction by project type and erosion source. Inset shows the proportion of the total project area for each project type.

These estimates have been calculated using two methods: 

1) The pollutant reduction component of the Alluvium/Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) investment tool for hillslope and streambank erosion management projects; 

2) The Reef Trust Gully Toolbox method for gully erosion management projects. The LDC Water Quality Report 2020 (Waterhouse et al., 2020) highlights that a number of assumptions underlay these calculations, therefore these figures should be treated as the best available estimate of sediment reductions to date.

Preventing sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef

Each wet season sediment is washed into local waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

Most sediment is very fine, and can stay suspended for a long time and can travel great distances. Valuable topsoil is lost from production, and increased concentrations on the reef can be harmful to seagrasses and corals. 

Landholders in the BBB have completed 69 on-ground water quality practice changes, and it is estimated that these have contributed a fine sediment reduction of 6,154 tonnes per year from reaching the GBR. 

Of this, approximately half of the sediment savings are attributable to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks, and the other half as a result of gully remediation treatments across a broad range of scales, as shown in the graphs above. 

The table below also highlights the relatively small area of intervention in the gully management projects compared to the large sediment savings that these can achieve - 60 per cent of the sediment savings over only 4 per cent of the project area.

Table 1. Estimated sediment reductions (tonnes) from projects completed in the LDC Project to date.

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*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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*The Exploring New Incentives activity area has provided an opportunity for graziers to adopt improved land management practices through a range of activities. For some of these properties, it was the first time they signed contracts for on-ground works.

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The LDC project monitors four gully sites (represented in this table) with gold standard equipment and analysis, carried out by CSIRO.

Results have been compiled in a preliminary report from Bartley et al (2020), with the final report expected to be released by the end of 2020. The preliminary report shows all four sites have indicators of improvements, notably the Strathbogie and Mt Wickham sites.

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Reef regulations - grazing, standard conditions

  1. For land in good or fair condition (more than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), continue using measures to maintain land condition.
  2. For land in poor condition (less than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition.
  3. For land in degraded condition (less than 20 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition OR prevent areas from further degrading or expanding.
  4. Keep records of measures taken and also of agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and mill mud or mill ash applied to land.
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