Controlling weeds and pests
Weeds and pests are the bane of farming life. They erode pasture and grazing value. Arming yourself with some basic information can help you manage them and stay sane. The key lies in building more resilient pastures and an integrated approach to weed and pest management. Learn to recognise the weed or pest and how it can be managed.
Tackling this is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. There’s no single (or easy) solution except for chipping away at the problem from different angles to gradually fill in the gaps without relying on one strategy like the use of chemicals alone. Single strategies introduce reliance and risk.
If we think of weeds and pests as threats or stressors, one way we can seek to minimise their impact is by managing some of other stressors that effect our pastures.
An example of the problem we face can be found with a pair of native pests, the black-headed cockchafer and the red-headed cockchafer. The former can be easily controlled with a pesticide, while the latter cannot as it feeds safely underground. Knowing which of the pests is at hand (by looking for the pests and the type of damage they do) can save you considerable time in wasted effort and allow you to focus on other avenues of control. In both examples, strong, vigorous pastures, with a backbone of phalaris or cocksfoot, can help to withstand the pest’s impact, and are also less likely to be weakened by the impact of dry conditions. That’s resilience in the making.
Well-adapted pasture species, adequate nutrition and control of grazing impacts all build a protective shield against stress, pests and weeds.
Some common pests to consider
Some common weeds to consider
Invasive introductions to watch out for