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‘Superweed’ Eradicated from Australia

‘Superweed’ Eradicated from Australia

2021-07-29

After a long period of fifteen years along with constant surveillance, a tree stump is all that remains of a tree species that had the potential to become a superweed. This is why the biosecurity of Queensland has declared that they intend to remove this weed once and for all. This superweed was first detected on the properties of Gatton and Toogoolawah. Even though authorities do not know how the trees came into Australia, they believe they have been originally planted to provide shade to other plants.

Biosecurity Queensland said the species, which has been recognised as a Weed of National Significance, could also block access to water for livestock and interfere with mustering. Dr Barrett said the case demonstrated the importance of detecting and eliminating invasive pests as soon as possible. Once superweeds get out and escape, then controlling them is extremely hard and expensive.

It can cost a few hundred dollars to eradicate something at the earliest stage, otherwise millions or billions of dollars, is not nearly as effective as initial eradication. Biosecurity Queensland’s Duncan Swan said the eradication of the smooth mesquite from Australia was a significant win.

How are Superweeds Harmful?

  1. They reduce the yield and productivity of crops. Superweeds always compete with crops for water, nutrition and light. Since they are tougher in nature, they always grow faster than the needed crops.
  2. Increase in cost cultivation.Tillage operations are done to control superweeds and it is generally estimated that on an average about 30 percent of the total expenditure for crop production is on tillage operations and more labour is employed for weeding.
  3. The quality of field produce is reduced:- When the crop is harvested from a weedy field the seeds of weeds get mixed with the main crop which results in lowering the quality of the produce.
  4. The quality of the livestock products is reduced. Certain superweeds when eaten by milch cattle impart an undesirable flavour to milk. Similarly weeds get attached to the body of the sheep and impair the quality of wool. 

Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)