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New chemical permit available to control Colombian waxweed (Cuphea) in pastures

Colombian waxweedNorth Coast Local Land Services has joined forces with the NSW Department of Primary Industries to have a permit developed for the chemical control of Colombian waxweed (Cuphea carthagenensis) with boom spraying equipment in New South Wales.

This Permit has recently been approved and is now available from the   Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website, search for Permit Number: PER82650.

Until this Permit was approved there were no registered chemical options for boom spray herbicide applications which made control of this weed difficult in pasture situations. Users of agricultural (or veterinary) chemical products in NSW are required to be trained in their use in accordance with the Pesticides Regulation 2009.

Colombian waxweed is also known commonly as Cuphea on the NSW far north coast.  It is a member of the Lythraceae plant family and is an introduced species from tropical America that has naturalised from the NSW far north coast to Bundaberg in Queensland.

Nathan Jennings, Senior Land Services Officer, said “Colombian waxweed was first documented as being naturalised at Murwillumbah in the early 1970s and it has continued to spread since that time.

“It is now a very common weed of pastures and native vegetation in moist areas such as floodplains, swamps, drains and waterways.

“Colombian waxweed can form very dense populations in pastures rapidly, leading to the loss of preferable pasture species and significant reductions in stocking rates.

“It is not listed as being toxic to cattle, however, cattle are reluctant to eat it and have been seen to lose excessive body condition when colombian waxweed dominates a pasture sward.” Nathan said.

Colombian waxweed is a short lived upright plant that can reach 60cm tall, however most are below 40cm with green or red stems covered densely in sticky hairs. Flowers are a pinkish purple either singly or in small clusters at the leaf forks or tips of branches.

Over-grazed pastures are at high risk of invasion following a flooding event, recently mulched or slashed pastures can suffer some moderate invasion, colombian waxweed competes aggressively with pastures species such as setaria and even couch.

Slashing and mulching offer very limited control and can actually spread seed further as the sticky waxy coating of colombian waxweed results in seed sticking to the machinery. Colombian waxweed can also tolerate being cut short and it begins to develop a dense mat. In pasture situations with dense infestations, chemical control is the most effective and practical method of control.

North Coast Local Land Services has released a Factsheet to help landholders identify and control colombian waxweed in pastures. It is available from the North Coast Local Land Services website or call the Agricultural Advisory team on 1300 795 299.

Media contact:

Nathan Jennings
Phone 0437 083 147

Photo caption:

Colombian waxweed invading a pasture Coraki NSW