Just Bought a farm in Bacchus Marsh have weeds everywhere....Help

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Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 05/17/2014 - 10:02

Just Bought a farm in Bacchus Marsh have weeds everywhere....Help

Hi All,

I have just purchased 20 acres in Bacchus Marsh 40mins west of Melbourne. I have all the best weeds and need help in eradicating them. I have wild tomatoes, patterson curse, some sort of cabbage weed and about a million others. Im getting conflicting advice and not sure how to tackle it. On site at the moment i have access to a grader. We will be building our home and moving in in about feb-mar 2015 so have time to do it right. The property will be used for horses and we will try and be self sufficient. We have no internal fencing and no trees (just planted 200+ on the border). My neighbor is great and crops a little, so has tractor and implements and is willing to help. What do I do first.

Thanks John

Last seen: 05/13/2019 - 17:05
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi John,

and welcome.

If it were my property, I would hit the weeds with Glyphosate (Roundup). Make sure that you do it on a calm day so there is no spray drift as your neighbour won't be pleased if you kill his crops. After about ten days, you should see if it has hit all the weeds because they will be yellowing or browning and dying off. Some woody weeds will be resistant to glyphosate so you may need to use a spray suitable for them to get a good kill. I recommend asking your neighbour about  sprays that are suitable for your area and legal for your state, as I note some sprays used here in Queensland are not legal in Victoria. The other thing is, keep sprays away from waterways if you have a creek  running through or dam on your property, because you wouldn't want to kill the fish and other fauna in them.

When you have killed the weeds then you need to disc and fertilise as most weeds love degraded low fertility soil and will take over killing out good pastures of grasses and legumes. You will probably need to spot spray from time to time for the next few years because there will be a seed bank in the soil from previous years weed flowering. Acaution: make sure you read the lable on the container to see how long you need to exclude stock for after spraying.

Then, at the right time of year, for your climate, you will need to seed the pasture with suitable types for your area. I always have my seeds coated with fertiliser and ant protection- to stop the ants pinching them. The coated seed is more expensive, but you need to use less, as most of them will germinate, unlike the bare seeds.

One bloke in central queensland arial seeded his property with coated seed- coloured blue and couldn't understand why there was little pasture coming up. When he flew over the property, he could see blue mounds everywhere. They were ant hills, with the expensive coated seeds on top collected by the ants. He had forgotten to ask the seed merchant to add ant protection to the coating.  

hope this info helps.

Cheers and all the best for your new life style,

Barb

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13

Look at that. I turn my back for a week or two and a great question I can have some input to is posted.

For my bit I would do it very differently to Barb. Now neither are wrong approaches, just different. If you look at your weed/pasture you will probably find lots of desirable plants in there you want so I tend not to kill everything. Most weeds are opportunistic invaders that love disturbed/compacted land so first thing is not to disturb your soil any more. Next thing is that they tend to have good taproot systems that open up soil and lift nutrients.

My approach is to fence off the crook area, keyline it and slash the weeds before they seed. If they have already seeded don't worry as you cannot do anything about it, just slash them everytime they flower in future. This does lots of things. Reduces the seed bank, uses the weeds as green mulch (remember those nutrients they lift), cover the ground with a mulch layer to suppress their seed germination, allows more desirable species that are better competitors to get a run on, reduces the need to buy and plant seed.........

As you have no stock on the place now and are under no real pressure to produce a pasture crop this is the way I would go.

Cheers
Rob.
 

Last seen: 05/13/2019 - 17:05
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi John,

Rob has given you a good answer there. In my case, I have a fair size property and haven't time to use a more organic method of dealing with the weeds. Hence the reason I suggested just killing them out, discing, fertilising and replanting the desired pasture for the horses you want to buy.

It would be good if you could get back to us at a future date and let us know what you decided to do and how it went.

Cheers,

Barb

 

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 05/17/2014 - 10:02

Thanks for that and I do like the thought of using as little chemicals as possible, however im a little worried about the pattersons curse and wild tomatoes for future horse usage. I have a ride on mower and could do a couple of acres but I might spray and disc the majority and see how it goes. With the wild tomatoes is there anyway to kill the seeds before i disc? I will fertilise and plant barley or oats I think to compete and hopefully thin out the weeds. Can you use a broad leaf herbacide like a weed and feed (like you do on your lawn) on acreage? 

Thanks for your responses and would love to hear from any one nearby.

John 

Last seen: 05/13/2019 - 17:05
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi John,

Not really sure if you can kill the seeds as well as the plants with the sprays.It would be a good idea to ask your rural supplier about it. I do know that there is a spray for Rats Tail grass, a terribly invasive grass here in Qld and the N.T, that kills the seeds as well. I can check with a friend who has used it to find out what it is if you like.

One thing that is very important, is to spray or slash any new plants that come up before they seed. If you don't, you will never over come the problem. Especially with Patersons' Curse as it producess many thousands of seeds on each plant and spreads rapidly if not controlled. It contains a pyrrolizidine alkaloid which is a cumulative long term poison that will destroy the liver, heart, kidneys and lungs of livestock. The animals may show no symptoms at all for two years or more and then one day they will just drop dead in the paddock. Many folk who find animals dead in the paddock like this believe it was caused by snake bight, but when the lab results come back it is often found to be due to this.  

regards,

Barb

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13

John,

However you decide to fix the problem you first have to define the cause of the infestation. Usually its a combination of depleted nutrients, compaction and overgrazing. Now the first thing to do it to suppress the seedbank by any means - just stop the plants setting any more seed by poisoning or slashing. Have your soil tested to see if there are any glaring deficiencies and address them if necessary. See if you can poke a bit of fencing wire into the ground when its moist. If you have a compaction layer it will just stop and not get progressively more difficult. This is where keyline ripping comes into play. After these are worked through then you have to increase the competition from the desirable species either by ploughing and planting them or suppressing the weeds so the goodies get a leg up. Its a long process whichever way you go but keep at it and you will win. Let your guard down and you will be back to square one in a flash.

Cheers

Rob.

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 05/17/2014 - 10:02

Hi Rob thanks for your input. Prior to to purchase the property was de rocked and a lot of the  top soil was disturbed. Looking at my neighbors place there are a LOT of weeds so im gussing im gonna have problems with airborne seeds from all 3 boundrys. I drove all around the property when we had rain in march and my 4x4 seemed to sink an inch or so all around the property so I dont think compaction is my problem, but i think ill need to add some nutrients to the top soil. Im really frustrated as i only get to the property every sunday and really want to be doing something other than typeing on the keyboard.

Thanks all

John

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