Over 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 Natural Resources Management (NRM), is in its twenty-first year. The event 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, noted that just twenty years ago some areas of Tasmania were heavily infested. “We have gone from collecting truck loads of ragwort to ute loads,” he said. “Our volunteers do a splendid job preventing ragwort from getting a major foothold in the region.”

Regular ‘ragwort raider’ and this year’s coordinator Jo Lyall said was looking forward to working with the community, three Tamar councils, partner organisations and funding partner Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania (RACT), on the 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 removal,” she encouraged.

Tamar NRM wants landholders, no matter how big or small, to do whatever they can to reduce ragwort on their properties. Mr Tyshing urged people to “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.”

ragwort raid

Image courtesy Wikimedia

Tamar NRM’s integrated weed program, the Tamar Valley Weed Strategy, will also monitor for the presence of biological control agents in ragwort infestations. Tasmanian releases of various host specific insects includes 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 Raid days are:

East Tamar – Saturday 1 February, meet at 9.00 am, Pipers River Fire Station;

West Tamar – Sunday 2 February 2019, meet at 9.00 am, Winkleigh Hall, Winkleigh;

Launceston and surrounds – Wednesday 5 February, meet at 9.00 am at Waverley Lake Carpark, Naroo Street, Waverley.

Get more information from the Tamar NRM website.

Brush up on your weed and ragwort identification  from Tamar Valley Weed Strategy website.
You can register for a Ragwort Raid by phoning 6323 3310 or (Jo) mob. 0400 866 934