Pasture Weed Management
Revitalise your block!
When we bought our home, 24 acres in Bullsbrook, several years ago we knew we had a lengthy task ahead of us. All of our paddocks had been over grazed and mainly consisted of a thriving pasture of Cape Weed! We knew that in order to have healthy pasture that produced quality feed for our 6 horses, we were going to have to implement a weed management plan to get the weeds under control and return the soil to a healthy state. Luckily, my partner is a expert in weed management and we had the ability, knowledge and equipment to turn our pasture around. Most of us, unfortunately, aren’t so lucky and the task can seem very daunting!
Fast forward a few years and we have lovely paddocks that grow quality feed for our now 10 horses. Our feed costs are minimal and our paddocks don’t become over grazed. We have significantly reduced our weed infestation of cape weed, cape tulip, dock, paterson’s curse, cats ear, cotton bush and lupins among others. Our feed and hay costs have dropped significantly with our horses only receiving hard feeds occasionally. We also now have healthy Kikuyu growing in our paddocks which has helped to stabilise our extremely sandy soils. Our ploughed, undrivable fire breaks are also a thing of the past! We now spray them and have weed free fire breaks that are solid and act as vehicle access way around our block.
As I mentioned, pasture weed management can seem daunting and not knowing who to contact or where to start can be disheartening. Winter is the ideal time to start implementing your weed management strategies. Some of the most common weeds found in pasture paddocks in Western Australia include, among many:
- Cape Weed
- Cape Tulip
- African Love Grass
- Catsear – False Dandelion – believed to cause Stringhalt in horses when eaten in excess.
- Narrow Leaf Cotton Bush
- Guildford Grass
- Paterson’s Curse
Here are our top tips to help you come up with a successful weed management plan:
- Ensure you don’t over graze! Where possible graze paddocks on a rotation. Ideally paddocks should be rested when pasture is below 5cm’s. If your pasture isn’t already divided with fixed fencing, maybe consider investing in portable electric tape fencing which gives you the ability to strip graze. Grazing areas bare promotes weed growth. Strip grazing can also be an effective measure for controlling the amount of feed your horses receive, especially in spring to avoid issues like founder.
- Have your soil tested to determine if lime or other fertilisers may be required.
- Eradicate and eliminate all weeds – using selective herbicides, specific to your properties needs. Bear in mind – withholding periods or horses/stock generally apply, but these vary between products. Contact a professional for advice if you are unsure how these products work. Some products on the market can be harmful to your animals and not to mention the health of dung beetles!
- Buy quality hay! Check your hay to see the quality and ensure you are not bringing in weed seeds.
- Spray your firebreaks rather than ploughing. Ploughing can actually assist in weed germination!
- Quarantine new animals/horses for a few days to prevent weeds seeds. Keep them yarded if possible, giving you the ability to collect manure and contain the spread of weeds.
Generally, once a pasture has an established weed infestation, selective herbicide is the most cost-efficient and effective way to start restoring the paddock health. Western Envirapest & Weed Solutions are passionate about providing weed management services for your home so you can achieve your dreams of healthy pasture. We can provided you with on on-site visit, free of charge and develop an individual management plan for your home.