Thistle control: a farmer perspective

J. McGufficke, Glen Milne, Jindabyne, New South Wales 2627, Australia.


There are a number of constraints placed on the landholder which affect the type and amount of weed control they are actually able to conduct. During this talk I will discuss a brief history of why thistles have got out of hand on the property. Black thistle was on the property but was not a major problem. This was followed by saffron thistle which was brought in from grain for drought feeding, and there was the odd Scotch thistle which was not a problem at the time. Twenty five years later I am battling a major Scotch thistle problem. Other land holders in the area have also not been as vigilant as perhaps they should have been in battling the problem and even if the problem on my property had been cleared the seeds from neighbouring properties would still have come in either wind blown or by birds etc.

Other constraints include the time needed to battle other noxious weeds such as serrated tussock which is a major problem in the region. Nodding thistle and vipers bugloss are also becoming a problem along with St. Johns wort but not yet African lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula). Another major constraint is the decline in terms of trade.

In the past I was able to employ a Station hand, then that was reduced to a casual hand, now I am battling to afford even casual labour and am now operating a one man 2700 acre property of mainly non-arable tableland country. Spraying has been conducted on open basalt country ten years ago and again there was no co-ordinated response from neighbours which raises the question of why persist when its still on the fence line all around you. Another land holder on a larger operation was conducting an annual aerial spray and concluded it was ineffective, repetitious and expensive. This lead to a number of financial contributions being made to the biological control program from various people in the district.


Plant Protection Quarterly (1996) 11 (Supplement 2) 281.