Skeleton weed Management guide - Program and protocols

Page last updated: Wednesday, 27 November 2019 - 12:20pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

This Management Guide has been designed to assist landholders and increase their capacity to manage and eradicate skeleton weed infestations on their properties and to prevent further spread within the State. Section 1 - Program protocols and skeleton weed information.

Without the coordinated program aimed at controlling spread, skeleton weed would now be much more abundant and widely established throughout the cereal growing areas.

Skeleton weed is a declared plant which can reduce crop yields by competing for moisture and nutrients (mainly nitrogen).

Declaration categories and management implications

Skeleton weed is declared under section 22(2) of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007.





Whole of the State except Narembeen and Yilgarn

  • Eradicate infestations; destroy plants and prevent propagation each year, until no plants remain
  • Prevent the spread of seed or plant parts
  • Summer search is required 
  • Winter control is required


Narembeen and Yilgarn

  • Manage infestations to prevent the spread of seed or plant parts
  • Summer search is required
  • Treat plants to prevent seed set
  • Winter control is required to receive search assistance

​The Skeleton Weed Program

The Skeleton Weed Program is a coordinated approach to manage skeleton weed in Western Australia. It is delivered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) under arrangement with the Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Management Committee. The Committee acts under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Industry Funding Schemes (Grains) Regulations 2010 to manage prioritised pests affecting the grains industry.

Services provided under the program are only available to landholders who contribute to the Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Funding Scheme through the sale of grain, seed or hay. Landholders not under the scheme but who have skeleton weed on their properties are still required to meet their obligations under the program but at their cost

All landholders need to prevent the movement of seed and/or root fragments from their properties in produce (grain, seed and hay),
wool, machinery and vehicles.

What the program provides to assist landholders 

  • Identification of suspected skeleton weed plants.
  • Technical assistance and advice for the eradication and/or management of skeleton weed on your property.
  • Assistance and advice on summer and winter herbicide application.
  • Mapping of infestations.
  • Assistance with searching new skeleton weed finds and previously infested paddocks.
  • Support from DPIRD and Local Action Group staff.


Assisting Western Australian landholders to eradicate skeleton weed and to prevent its further spread within the State. 


  • Improve landholders’ ability to find and eradicate skeleton weed.
  • Increase landholders’ awareness of skeleton weed as a highly undesirable weed.
  • Widely publicise descriptions and pictures of skeleton weed to help landholders identify infestations.
  • Inform landholders about the most up-to-date techniques available for the management and eradication of skeleton weed.
  • Encourage local grower groups, Local Action Groups (LAGs), to participate in cooperative surveillance and reporting of infestations.
  • Encourage LAGs to assist in the management and eradication of skeleton weed in their local areas.
  • Implement practical compliance regimes in affected areas.
  • Provide landholders with incentives to report infestations.
  • Provision of winter control treatments where landholders are compliant with program requirements.

The Program has very effective management options
for eradicating skeleton weed



Martin Atwell