The Department of Agriculture and Food is working with growers in Jerramungup and Katanning to eradicate the last known infestations of the weed Hoary cress (Lepidium draba).
Department development officer Andrew Reeves said inspections and surveillance undertaken by department staff had shown the number of properties and total weed infested area was significantly less than initially thought.
“Surveillance has only detected the weed on four properties, covering less than five hectares, significantly less than the originally estimated 50 ha,” Mr Reeves said.
“The smaller infested area means eradicating the weed is now highly achievable.”
Mr Reeves said the increase in continuous cropping in areas that had traditionally had greater pasture and stock grazing appears to have significantly reduced the area of Hoary cress in WA.
“Some paddocks that were known to be infested with Hoary cress have had five years of continuous cereal and canola crops,” Mr Reeves said.
“The combined effects of ongoing cultivation and herbicide pressure, has dramatically reduced the incidence of this weed in WA.”
Mr Reeves said the department had produced an eradication plan for Hoary cress and would be supporting growers to implement the plan.
“A recent economic analysis completed by the department has shown that if allowed to establish in WA, the impact of Hoary cress to wheat, barley, and oat production could be $5.5 million annually,” he said
“This is why it is very important to not only control, but hopefully eradicate Hoary cress from WA altogether.”
Hoary cress is a perennial weed with an extensive root system that is highly competitive plant and can significantly reduce crop yields and reduce production.
It is a weed of pasture, crops, orchards and vines because the roots release chemicals that hinder the growth of other plants and it is known to host insect and pathogens, such as viruses that can spread to crops.
For more information about the Hoary cress contact Andrew Reeves at the department’s Bunbury office on 9780 6224 or email [email protected]