Bindi-eye weed a prickly foe

Central and North Burnett Times - - THE FENCE POST - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

Rob By­grave: So if you spray, it kills your lucerne too.

WHEN Arthur May­nard is driv­ing his trac­tor, he never looks at how pretty the sky is, how the crop is go­ing, or how the neigh­bours’ cat­tle look be­cause his eyes are com­pletely trained upon en­emy num­ber one: bindi-eyes.

The prick­les have sprung up in lucerne pad­docks with a vengeance fol­low­ing the re­cent flood and rainy weather in Monto, and grow­ers have been faced with the heart-break­ing task of plough­ing up their crops.

“I’ve been try­ing to sup­press them all sum­mer but with the tim­ing of the flood and rain, I’ve had to ex­e­cute a cou­ple of pad­docks,” Mr May­nard said.

“I’d love to see a chem­i­cal to spray them be­cause the only way to get rid of them is to plough the pad­dock.

“I never look at how pretty the sky is when I’m driv­ing a trac­tor.

“I’m com­pletely fo­cused on the ground.

ON­GO­ING BATTLE: Moon­ford farmer Arthur May­nard says bindi-eye is a scourge in his lucerne pad­docks.

“Some days I’ll spend 10-15 hours just cut­ting out the burrs.”

The Moon­ford farmer laid claim to pi­o­neer­ing a tech­nique for “keep­ing a cap” on bindi-eye by spray­ing it with Round-Up.

But he said in re­al­ity it was only a quick-fix for the re­cur­ring prob­lem.

“It’s just like fer­til­is­ing them in the long run, be­cause if you spray 10 plants, they will come back with 200 to 300 in their place,” he said.

Lan­g­ley Flats farmer Rob By­grave has also strug­gled with the “unkil­l­able” weed.

“The worst thing is that the prick­les are in the same fam­ily as clover, which is very sim­i­lar to lucerne,” he said.

“So if you spray, it kills your lucerne too.”

He said the best way to deal with bindi-eye was to ro­tate crops, but once they set in the only thing to do was make sec­ond-rate hay, or start from scratch.

Af­ter plough­ing the crop he sug­gested re­plant­ing with a ce­real crop to make sure all the prick­les were gone, be­fore re­plant­ing with lucerne again.

“I’ve got 25 acres (10ha) of nice, lovely-look­ing hay but I can’t put a foot down with­out get­ting a prickle in it,” he said.

“If you’ve just planted a new crop (and bindi-eye sets in), it’s heart­break­ing, I tell you.”

Although Mr By­grave said the first win­ter frost would kill the dreaded prick­les, they would re­turn as soon as sum­mer came around again.

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

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