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Department of Primary Industries:
African Lovegrass Audit

Noxious weed African Lovegrass has come under close scrutiny over the last few months. The African Lovegrass Control Steering Committee has developed a unique audit process...

By Department of Primary Industries - 23rd April 2003 - Back to News

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Noxious weed African Lovegrass has come under close scrutiny over the last few months. The African Lovegrass Control Steering Committee has developed a unique audit process that will give organisations and the wider community a ‘snapshot’ of how well infestations of the weed are being managed.

The African Lovegrass Control Program has been operational in Gippsland since 1999, and significant goals have been achieved. Around 300 properties, many roadsides and other areas of public land have been tagged ‘Lovegrass infested’. An extensive educational campaign has been active with farmers, local schools, organisations, community and Landcare Groups receiving the message that African Lovegrass is a weed to be ‘wary of’. Matt Stephenson, Grass Weeds Facilitator with the Landcare Networks, believes the educational and publicity aspect of the program has been well received. "We have made contact with a wide range of individuals and groups with a stake in this project, from the kids who’s school oval is covered in lovegrass to organisations such as VicRoads who control the weed on roadsides between Pakenham and Genoa. We are aware that whilst we have spread the message far and wide, we also need to go to the next step, and ensure that not only can all these stakeholders in the program control the weed, but do so consistently for many more years."

Mr Stephenson explained that many people can identify African Lovegrass and are aware how to control it. However, it is important that the process be repeated for a number of years if eradication of the weed is the goal. Mr Stephenson said that one of the chief benefits of the new audit process is that it will enable the Program to provide the organisations and landholders that manage African Lovegrass with data that will ‘let them know how they are going.’

The audit system has been applied to local organisations such as Parks Victoria, Department of Primary Industries and VicRoads and at present a wide range of data has been collected. The audit process records plant numbers – sprayed and killed plants, evidence of inappropriate activities such as slashing and mechanical disturbance and other factors such as size of plants. "When we have surveyed each site, we collate that information for submission into our progress report, and also forward on to the organisations concerned. The audit will be a unique and proactive way individuals and organisations can compare data and even develop new control techniques based on the evidence," explained Mr Stephenson.

The African Lovegrass Control Steering Committee and the Landcare Networks are continuing to run an active campaign in Gippsland. Landholders who have African Lovegrass on there properties are welcome to participate in the audit process. "I would strongly encourage any landholder who would like to take a more proactive approach to the control of their African Lovegrass to contact me. It could save them time and effort in the long term if we can establish some data on ‘what works best’ and that would have multiple benefits for the farmer who is making the effort to rid the property of this invasive noxious weed."

Matt Stephenson can be contacted at DPI Calvert Street on 5152 0608.


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