Economics of serrated tussock and Mexican feather grass in Victoria: Why we need to act now

T.A. MorfeA, J. WeissA,B and D.A. McLarenA,B

A Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Keith Turnbull Research Institute, PO Box 48, Frankston, Victoria 3199, Australia.

B Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management.


The likely economic outcomes of government's pro-active and reactive-type weed control strategies to avoid the long-term 'external' cost of serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma (Nees) Arechav.) and Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima (Trin.) Barkworth) infestation in Victoria are assessed and compared from the viewpoint of the community. Partial industry-level analysis of financial costs and benefits is also explored. The potential loss avoided in agricultural production on private lands, and the savings in future control costs on both public and private lands are the long-term benefits of public investment considered and valued. Net benefits are calculated given four land-productivity and product price level scenarios.

The net economic benefits to the community of a pro-active strategy i.e., immediate eradication of Mexican feather grass within five years, would be about $41 million to $102 million depending on the scenarios tested. In present value terms, this is a potential saving to the community of about $1.2 million to $3.2 million per year over the next 30 years. On the other hand, in all scenarios tested, the cost to government of a reactive strategy i.e., suppressing serrated tussock within 20 years using chemical method alone outweighs the benefits to the community by about $260 million to $1140 million.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2002) 17 (3) 86-94.