Spear­grass now in the Bur­nett

Res­i­dents urged to be aware of ‘nui­sance’ plant

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Philippe Co­querand philippe.co­querand@cnbtimes.com.au

IT IS spear­grass sea­son in the North Bur­nett and prop­erty own­ers are en­cour­aged to be on the look­out as it af­fects nu­mer­ous homes.

Green Army su­per­vi­sor Mark Cachia said his prop­erty was rav­aged by spear­grass but he had be­come ac­cus­tomed to it.

“It’s quite vis­i­ble in that it gets a dis­tinc­tive flax seed head and you can pick it up from the side of the road,” Mr Cachia said.

Spear­grass is found in all states of Aus­tralia but pre­dom­i­nantly in the south­ern half of the con­ti­nent.

Mr Cachia said spear­grass, if ig­nored, could cause prob­lems.

“Don’t ig­nore it as they be­gin to spi­ral and as a re­sult they can get stuck into you,” he said.

“If they get stuck into you, the worst case scenario is you will have to get it phys­i­cally cut out of your legs which is painful.

“It all de­pends on the soil type and graz­ing and then it be­comes a graz­ing prob­lem against sheep graz­ing.”

Mr Cachia said the black spear­grass played an im­por­tant role in the re­gion.

“It’s an in­ter­est­ing part of the land­scape, it does add char­ac­ter to the North Bur­nett and grass­land ar­eas,” he said.

“Peo­ple should be aware of spear­grass es­pe­cially if they have young chil­dren, just let them know that they should be care­ful.

“I rec­om­mend wear­ing shorts and long socks when

❝ Don’t ig­nore it as they be­gin to spi­ral and as a re­sult they can get stuck into you. — Mark Cachia

deal­ing with spear­grass.”

Spear­grass plants have a life of three to four years but re­searchers say the plant can last up to 12 years.

Un­der the con­tin­u­ous heavy graz­ing pres­sures of­ten prac­tised, spear­grass can even­tu­ally be grazed.

Stud­ies in in­land and north­ern re­gions have shown utilisation rates con­sis­tently above 50% as a re­sult in rapid de­clines in soil and land con­di­tions.

Mr Cachia said the sea­son varies de­pend­ing on the re­gion.

“When I was in the Cape York the seeds ripened in Septem­ber and that was when we had spear­grass but here in the Bur­nett re­gion, it’s now in July,” he said.

North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mark Pitt said spear­grass was a bit of a nui­sance but wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily a threat.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a threat but it has been used as fod­der in the past and it can be a real prob­lem for dogs,” he said.

“Th­ese grasses need to be man­aged and how we do that is by not let­ting graz­ing an­i­mals be in the pad­docks where spear­grass is other­wise they can eat it and then it can spread.

“It is im­por­tant that farm­ers wash down their equip­ment af­ter ev­ery use which will help stop the spear­grass from spread­ing fur­ther.”

PHOTO: PHILIPPE CO­QUERAND

CREEP­ING UP: Spear­grass is grow­ing in the North Bur­nett re­gion.

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