Green ‘non­sense’ over thriv­ing buf­fel grass

Countryman - - HAVE YOUR SAY OPINION - Graeme Camp­bell, Kal­go­or­lie

By the late 1920s the Gas­coyne was eaten out and erod­ing badly. Buf­fel grass saved the day. True, it is an im­ported species from north­ern In­dia, but it did what the local plants could not do: it sur­vived and pros­pered and pro­vided food for sheep that would oth­er­wise have per­ished.

The fact that it is thriv­ing in the Gold­fields is a good thing.

It has been de­monised by the Greens, who have con­cocted myths about it be­ing a fire haz­ard and re­plac­ing na­tive grasses, mainly spear grass. There have been claims that in­sects liv­ing in spear grass will not live in buf­fel, but this is most un­likely and, in any case, if there is no spear grass they have nowhere to live,

It is highly palat­able and gives a good vol­ume of growth. It is true that it stops grow­ing for a cou­ple of months a year, but the dry grass still pro­vides sus­te­nance to stock. Re­gard­less of what Mr Lang­ford says, its spread is not a prob­lem; in fact, it is to be ap­plauded. It co­ex­ists with salt­bush and blue­bush and other na­tive species and it’s no more com­bustible than other na­tive grasses, al­though it of­ten pro­vides a greater weight of herbage. In any case, where it is grazed fire is not a prob­lem. Buf­fel tends to avoid heavy clay coun­try and its rel­a­tively high de­mand for phos­pho­rous makes it self-lim­it­ing.

If the rangers are look­ing for a real prob­lem, I sug­gest they look at nox­ious weeds such as Bathurst burr, which is out of con­trol in some places and will make it dif­fi­cult to rein­tro­duce wool sheep.

Onion weed is an­other prob­lem; it is spread­ing rapidly, has no food value and crowds out other use­ful plants. Calthrop is an­other prob­lem; it now oc­curs along the road to War­bur­ton and is spread­ing.

I wish the rangers well, but go­ing along with this Green non­sense serves no pur­pose and there are many other op­tions, some of which could pro­vide a good eco­nomic base with sus­tain­able em­ploy­ment and a se­cure fu­ture.

Pic­ture: Vicki Long

Buf­fel grass has come un­der fire.

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