Green ‘nonsense’ over thriving buffel grass
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.
Buffel grass has come under fire.