Over the last week of January and the first week of February, don't be surprised to see community volunteers from Landcare groups, rural fire brigades (if they are free), friends groups and farmers removing ragwort from roadsides. The annual Ragwort Raid, run by Tamar NRM, is in its 22nd year, and aims to control the spread of the declared agricultural and environmental weed, ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris).
In calling for more volunteers for this year's event, Mr. Roger Tyshing, president of Tamar NRM, said that "Those of us in the area 22 years ago, will remember how heavily infested with ragwort some areas in the Tamar Valley were. We have gone from collecting truck-loads of ragwort to ute loads. Our volunteers do a splendid job preventing ragwort from getting a major foothold in the region."
Regular "ragwort raider" and this year's ragwort raid coordinator Kay Bailey said "I am looking forward to working with the community, three Tamar councils, and partner organisations such as the Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania (RACT), on this practical on-ground project. If you can help out on this year's ragwort raids you will be provided with all the required instruction on ragwort identification and
Tamar NRM wants landholders, no matter how big or small, to do whatever they can to reduce ragwort on their properties. Mr Tyshing said "Join us on one of the dedicated ragwort days, or, importantly, just deal with any infestations you have.
By doing that you will be adding value to the volunteer roadside ragwort control, adding value to your property and helping control the spread of this insidious weed that can invade natural and agricultural areas and is toxic to livestock."
Tamar NRM's integrated weed program, the Tamar Valley Weed Strategy, will also use the Raids to monitor for the presence of biological control agents in ragwort infestations. Tasmanian releases of various host specific insects include the Ragwort Flea Beetle the Stem and Crown Boring Moth and the Ragwort Plume Moth.
"These agents are another weed management tool, particularly useful for control in difficult terrain where access is problematic" Mr. Tyshing said.
The three dedicated "ragwort raiding" days are East Tamar - Saturday 30th January, meet at 9.00 am, Pipers River Fire Station; West Tamar - Sunday 31st January, meet at 9.00 am, Winkleigh Hall, Winkleigh; Launceston and surrounds - Wednesday 3rd February, meet at 9.00 am at Waverley Lake Carpark, Naroo Street, Waverley.
More information from the Tamar NRM website at www.tamarnrm.com.au.
Ragwort ID from Tamar Valley Weed Strategy website http://www.weeds.asn.au/
You can register by phoning 6323 3310 or Kay 0456 853 445;