Skeleton Weed Program 2016–2017: Report to grain growers

Page last updated: Thursday, 12 January 2023 - 4:24pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

How are the funds spent?

The total cost of the 2016/17 Program was $3.384m (as at 30 June 2017) which was $216,000 under the budgeted amount of $3.600m. 

(Approximately) $2,075,000 of expenditure during the year was allocated to landholder support in the form of search assistance, funding for six Local Action Groups and winter herbicide treatments (Table 2).

A further $1 309 000 was directed to program support activities such as research, education, regulation and surveillance.

The cost of undertaking surveillance and control within the Perth metropolitan area is more than offset by revenues raised through charging land managers (on a fee for service basis) for work undertaken.

Table 2. Program expenditure 2016–17

Operational expenditure

Program support activities

Program coordination, audit and compliance

$550 000

Education and awareness

$32 000

Targeted surveillance searching (including metro area)

$200 000

Response to new finds

$146 000

Field research

$35 000

Contribution to DPIRD in-kind support

$346 000

Program support total

$1 309 000

Direct landholder support

Winter spraying contracts

$20 000

Local group support

$650 000

Provision for landholder searching subsidies

$1 185 000

Infested property support activities

$110 000

Winter spraying - chemical supply

$110 000

Landholder support total

$2 075 000

Program expenditure 2015–16

$3 384 000


The Skeleton Weed Program continues to provide significant benefits to owners/managers of both infested and non-infested properties. Without a co-ordinated program aimed at controlling spread, skeleton weed would now be much more abundant and widely established throughout the wheatbelt.

In the 2016/17 Program, little change was recorded in the parameters used to measure program progress, with only very slight variations on 2015/16 in the number of infested properties, the area searched and the area infested.

Although the overall number of infested properties continues to climb, it is at very slow rate. As well, the number of properties removed from the infested list is at a consistent level. These are particularly pleasing trends and a good indicator of the effectiveness of the program.

Area searched

The total area searched in 2016/17 was 411,000ha, which is slightly less than the previous season (Figure 1).

The area of surveillance searching by landholders, DPIRD and LAG’s was 80,800ha.

Contractors searched a total of 101,831ha of eligible ‘Code 1’ paddocks and new finds, and were paid $833,856 under the search assistance scheme. Landholders searched 60,682ha of eligible ‘Code 1’ paddocks and new finds, and received $240,703 in search assistance.

Skeleton weed area searched between 2016-2017Figure 1. Area Searched (agricultural regions)

Infested properties

There are now 1,006 properties infested with skeleton weed in the Western Australian agricultural area, a net increase of 20 properties since the start of the 2016/17 Program (Table 1). The total of 56 new infested properties was balanced to some extent by 36 properties being removed from the infested list after audit (Figure 2).

Although the number of new properties continues to grow yearly the rate of increase is slow and this is very encouraging. This trend has been consistent for several years.

Number of infested properties between 2007-2017

Figure 2. Number of infested properties (agricultural regions)

Infested area

There are 2,448ha infested with skeleton weed, a moderate increase in 2016/17, from 1,994ha in 2015/16 (Figure 3). This can be related to seasonal conditions, but is also a reflection of the effectiveness of the Skeleton Weed Program, as the trend remains fairly level.

A map of the agricultural area showing the distribution of all infested sites can be found at the end of this report (Figure 4).

Skeleton weed infested area between 2007-2017

Figure 3 Area Infested with skeleton weed (agricultural regions)