Upper Macleay farmers get help to control “weed from hell” - Tropical soda apple
22 February 2017
North Coast Local Land Services is working with Kempsey Shire Council and 17 Upper Macleay landholders to control the ‘weed from hell’ – Tropical Soda Apple (TSA). Funding has been allocated to the Upper Macleay TSA group to employ specialist weed spraying teams to undertake weed control 30 metres each bank of 100 km of the Macleay River catchment.
Max Osborne from North Coast Local Land Services said, “Control of this weed is time consuming, labour intensive, expensive and not particularly an enjoyable task to perform, especially when it is extremely hot and humid.
“If the conditions are right, Tropical Soda Apple seeds can sprout, grow and produce more seed within 8 to 10 weeks, meaning that farmers and landowners need to be regularly inspecting their properties to control infestations and stop the spread of this weed.
“Landholders need to help with total eradication of this exotic “weed from hell” in Australia while it may be still possible to do so, otherwise we will be stuck with this spikey, impenetrable bush, possibly forever,” Max said.
Tropical Soda Apple can be spread from property to property by flood waters, via manure from horses, cattle, feral animals such as pigs and deer and also from bird droppings.
Recently, weed control contractors have been undertaking Tropical Soda Apple spraying with a second follow-up spray program treatment planned. The 17 landholders are undertaking ongoing control of this Class 1 Noxious weed across the remaining sections of their properties and will be required to undertake follow up control when the project is completed.
Spokesperson for the Upper Macleay Tropical Soda Apple Group, Lynne Berry said, “The assistance provided by North Coast Local Land Services will help the farmers get Tropical Soda Apple infestations under control in the Five Day, Comara, Towal Creek and Bellbrook reaches of the Macleay River and will hopefully reduce the amount of work required to control the weed in the coming years.”
The program is supported by North Coast Local Land Services with funding provided through the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.
Tropical Soda Apple Weed Officer Michael Jones from Kempsey Shire Council who assisted the Upper Macleay TSA Group prepare and submit the Local Land Services 2015-16 Pest and Weed Drought Funding Program Project application said, “The funding to control priority weeds along the Macleay River riparian zone is making a difference, however everyone needs to continue to work towards eradicating this weed and Kempsey Shire Council will continue to undertake property inspections throughout the year”.
Max Osborne Phone 6563 6710
Upper Macleay farmers who are working together to control the “Weed from Hell”
Tropical Soda Apple (image courtesy of Coffs Harbour City Council)