Stamping out Condamine curse
LIPPIA, or as it is commonly known Condamine couch or Condamine curse, is an increasingly critical issue for farmers in the catchment.
A number of landholders saw this at a recent field day on Mary and Mark Richardson's Swan Creek property.
"After the floods, the lippia has been rampant," Mr Richardson said.
"It has taken over some of our grazing paddocks and caused massive erosion along the waterway. What remains are whole patches of unproductive land".
Better land preparation is the key to better results. Farmers have to start treating pasture land like a crop.
The field day was the first in a series of workshops being held by the Condamine Alliance as part of its Sustainable Agriculture program aimed at helping farming businesses get the balance right for their land and for business.
Held on April 23, the workshop brought together 14 landholders to discuss pasture management with Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (QDAFF) agronomist Brian Johnson.
The day included a field walk of three sites on the property with reduced grazing productivity.
The effect of the unprecedented flooding during the past couple of years was a common sentiment across the group.
Landholders are battling paddocks with low productivity and out-of-control weeds.
Lippia is a deeply rooted broadleaf weed that forms a mat-like ground cover and is difficult to eradicate.
It has been identified by DAFF as a serious environmental and pastoral weed in the Queensland and New South Wales Murray-Darling river system.
It is well adapted to floodplains and adjacent areas and extremely difficult to control. Furthermore, lippia can be destructive to riverbanks and waterways as it prevents adequate groundcover to stabilise banks, leading to erosion.
This was clearly evident at one of the sites on Mark and Mary's property.
Due to the instability caused by lippia, the bank washed away during floods.
A number of mitigation measures were discussed but the recommendation was a combination of short and long term measures.
Short term, lippia can be cultivated out through ploughing and harrowing where the land is not prone to flooding or through multiple applications of herbicide.
"Better land preparation is the key to better results," Mr Johnson said. "Farmers have to start treating pasture land like a crop.
"If using herbicide, multiple applications are a must. Lippia is hard to control and hard to get rid of."
The long-term solution is pasture management and sowing the right grass for soil. DAFF recommends the use of floren bluegrass, bambatsi grass, purple pigeon grass or Queensland bluegrass.
Mr Johnson suggested using bisset creeping bluegrass or Rhodes grass in the mix.
For more information about this or future workshops, email Julia Telford on email@example.com or phone 0427 408 713.
To find out more ways you can improve and protect your land, visit http://www.condaminealliance.com.au/land.