September 9, 2013
Industry and government representatives have locked in a range of agreed solutions to enable business continuity for cane growers affected by red witchweed in Mackay.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said a number of options for harvesting and planting had been put to and endorsed by the Incident Control Group.
“We have developed individual risk assessments and property management plans as a matter of priority, in conjunction with industry and the affected property owners,” Mr McVeigh said.
“These property management plans have been developed with the main focus of reducing the risk of spreading red witchweed from the infested properties.
“Each property has different requirements and, as a result, plans have been tailor-made to meet the producers’ needs.
“Affected property owners were individually notified of potential options and have responded positively.
“Biosecurity Queensland has also secured a dedicated harvester for use between infested properties, to further support property owners with their harvest plans.
“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to industry for its ongoing support with this response.”
Mr McVeigh said cooperation from local industry and producers had ensured the red witchweed response was progressing well.
“For success in the control of red witchweed, all growers should adopt good property hygiene practices to ensure this weed does not spread any further,” he said.
“In order to beat this pest, we need to continue to work together and support those impacted by the weed.”
The number of properties under movement restrictions remains at four. Biosecurity Queensland has surveyed 68 properties to date.
Red witchweed is a parasitic plant that grows attached to the roots of a ‘host’ plant. The weed then robs its host of water and nutrients, suppressing its growth, causing wilting, leaf yellowing and reducing yield. Red witchweed is a notifiable pest and if people suspect they have this weed on their property, it must be reported immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.