Giant rat weed needs some diggin'

LANDOWNERS across the region are being warned a virulent pest weed – Giant Rat’s Tail – will cost them dearly if it gets established on their properties.

Councillor Brett Svendsen knows first-hand how much of a problem it is.

He told colleagues this week he had already spent $20,000 in an attempt to clear it from his land at Emu Park.

“It’s worse than ever,” he said.

“It’s as if it can’t be stopped.”

During the past three months, the council has received a big increase in inquiries from concerned graziers.

Ian Dare, the council’s pest control manager, said the grass had previously been confined to one small area on the Capricorn Coast but was now popping up in areas throughout the region.

“There are 150,000 seeds per plant,” he said, warning that it took hold very quickly and had a “significant negative impact” on grazing and the natural environment.

Giant Rat’s Tail is a declared pest and landholders are obliged to control it on their properties.

Seeds are most commonly spread by native animals, notably wallabies.

“Without assistance from landholders, it is unlikely its spread in the region can be stopped,” he said.

Mr Dare said the council could repay 15% of herbicide costs to landowners, but the budget was small and there was a “first come, first served” allocation method.

Once the budget is spent, that’s it.

Councillors approved a new pest survey for the localities of Lakes Creek, Canoona, Kunwarara and Stanage that will start at the end of May and specifically target Giant Rat’s Tail along with other rogue weeds.

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