Continuous improvement remains an important part of the Bedstraw Program’s ongoing development and effectiveness.
Significant refinements were made to the delivery of the Program in 2017/18. These included:
- Further germination enhancing and seed destruction techniques through the burning of identified bush blocks
- Clearing and tidying bush edges to improve spraying application by removing overhanging branches and fallen trees.
- Rock pile levelling to remove any potential seed storing sites.
- Inclusion of contingency treatment options to allow for seasonal variations and program needs.
Audit and compliance remain a strong focus of the program with strict quarantine protocols in place and maintained by DPIRD officers on both properties to prevent bedstraw spread outside the existing
boundaries. This includes cleandown processes for the movement of vehicles, machinery and equipment in and out of the quarantined areas and restricting stock access. Quarantine release processes were followed with full landholder and contractor cooperation.
Auditing of all treatments and operations occurred to ensure successful herbicide application and coverage over the whole of the required areas as well as ensuring clearing operation requirements were being met.
DPIRD assist the landholders with regulatory and operational facets of the program ensuring both the Approved Program and quarantine requirements are being met.
Industry Funding Schemes
The Bedstraw Eradication Program continues to operate under the Biosecurity and Agricultural Management Industry Funding Scheme (Grains) Regulations 2010. Responsibility for approving the funding and operations of the program reside with the Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Management Committee (Grains IMC) initially appointed by the Minister in June 2010.
The Grains IMC met in April 2017 and approved the programs for the control of skeleton weed and the eradication of three-horned bedstraw on behalf of the WA Grains Industry. The Committee recommended a contribution rate on grains, seeds and hay be reduced to 25 cents - (down from 30) - per tonne for grain and 12.5 cents – (down from 15) per tonne for hay. These funds are used to support the Skeleton weed and Bedstraw Programs, with Skeleton weed allocated 90% of the funds collected.
The reduced contribution rate reflects the higher than average amounts collected over the last few years and the willingness of the Committee to respond to this and decrease the burden on landholders, when possible.
All contributions to the scheme are collected by purchasers of grain and hay and are paid into a Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Funding Scheme, Declared Pest Control and Compensation Account, which is managed by DPIRD in consultation with the Grains Industry Management Committee.
The program has continued to trial new surveillance techniques to detect bedstraw seed and plants in the field, with a trial recently carried out using the GrainCam mounted to a combine during harvesting operations. Improvements to specifications were made enabling it to operate autonomously as previously it required manual intervention. Ongoing research for improving detection continues.
Extension and awareness
Neighbouring landholders of the affected property in West Arthur were provided a status report of the bedstraw eradication program and current procedures in place.
WeedWatcher media article was released in mid- 2017 alerting grain growers and the general public to bedstraw status, urging people to report and providing identification and reporting tools.