Skeleton Weed Program

Page last updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2018 - 12:37pm

The Skeleton Weed Program is a coordinated approach to managing skeleton weed in Western Australia.

Background and funding

The Skeleton Weed Program began in 1973-74 following the discovery of large infested areas in the Narembeen shire.

The program is delivered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) under a service delivery 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.

The Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Management Committee is funded through contributions raised on the sale of grain, seed and hay.

Services provided by the program are only available to landholders who contribute to the Grains 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.

Targeted surveillance

DPIRD carries out annual surveillance on non-infested properties between December and March in grain growing areas, as part of the Skeleton Weed Program. This program also raises awareness of the presence of skeleton weed on high risk properties.

Properties chosen for surveillance are considered to have a high probability of having skeleton weed, due to being near or adjacent to a current skeleton weed infested property. 

Other properties are identified from analysis of current infestation locations, and predictions of spread from these locations.

The surveillance program involves checking a minimum of three paddocks (preferably containing crop stubbles) on each selected property, such that around 300 hectares is searched per property.

Landholders or managers will be contacted via phone and correspondence to advise which properties and paddocks will be stock free and have not been sprayed for at least 4-6 weeks prior to department surveillance.

In addition to the surveillance program, all landholders in grain growing areas are encouraged to undertake their own surveillance for skeleton weed, as part of their farm biosecurity measures. View the search protocols before undertaking surveillance. Guidelines are also available from the Skeleton Weed in Western Australia: Management Guide.      

If you believe you have Skeleton weed on your property, please report sightings to your local DPIRD office, or go to MyWeedWatcher to download the app or make an online report.

Skeleton Weed Program strategies

  • 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) to participate in cooperative surveillance and reporting of infestations.
  • Encourage Local Action Groups 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.

Further details

Further details about the Skeleton Weed Program can be found in the Skeleton weed in Western Australia Management Guide.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080