Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Quick action prevents Tasmanian weed incursion

October 2, 2014
Bathurst burr

Bathurst burr

The vigilance of a Longford producer has prevented the damaging weed Bathurst burr from taking hold and spreading in the Apple Isle.

Native to South America, Bathurst burr is one of the most common contaminants of wool, becoming entangled in the animal’s fleece and devaluing the product. The spines on the burrs can also damage the feet of sheep and other animals.

Bill Cox found Bathurst burr on his property after receiving Victorian sheep which were destined for slaughter within one week and had yet to be shorn.

Bathurst burr isn’t known to be in Tasmania and as he didn’t recognise the weed, Mr Cox alerted the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) invasive species branch.

DPIPWE staff were able to trace back and find the Bathurst burr in other places the sheep had been, such as a truck wash and abattoir stockyards.

They also used the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) to identify other areas of Tasmania livestock had been introduced over the past few years, and discovered Bathurst Burr in stockyards in Circular Head.

Mr Cox’s efforts to  investigateand report Bathurst burr have been applauded by members of the livestock industry and have been described as having a critical role in stopping this weed in its tracks.

Animal Health Australia’s Executive Manager Biosecurity, Duncan Rowland said this is a good example of how quick thinking and action is vital in limiting the potential spread of pests, diseases and weeds and minimising the chances of them becoming widespread.

“Early intervention is vital in limiting and controlling the impact of diseases, pests and weeds. If you suspect – or have spotted – anything unusual and you’re not sure whether it’s an exotic pest, weed or disease, report it.

“Don’t worry how insignificant it may be. Small signs may be an early indication that something’s wrong,” Mr Rowland said.

If you have spotted anything unusual in your animals or on your property you can report it to:

  • the 24 hour EMERGENCY ANIMAL DISEASE WATCH HOTLINE on 1800 675 888
  • the EXOTIC PLANT PEST HOTLINE on 1800 084 881
  • your local veterinarian
  • the nearest Department of Primary Industries or Agriculture

Find out how to protect your property from exotic weeds and pests visit the Farm Biosecurity website

Photo courtesy of NSW Department of Primary Industries.