Home' Smart Farmer : June 2011 Contents A watsonia infestation can be a huge threat to pasture.
Credit: Kate Blood
20 SmartFarmer •
By DANA MILES,
District Officer for the Lower
Onkaparinga, Adelaide and Mount
Lofty Ranges Natural Resource
T IS nearly that time of year
when pretty flowering bulbs pop
up from nowhere. Yes, they add
much-needed colour to the garden,
but do you know what they are and
the problems they can cause?
In a garden setting they may be
ideal for their flowers and hardy,
drought-tolerant nature, but what
about when they escape the garden
and end up in bushland, paddocks
or roadsides among remnant vegeta-
Many people are surprised to
learn that plants such as freesias,
gladiolus, sparaxis, watsonia and
other attractive spring-flowering
plants that grow from corms and
bulbs are invasive exotic weeds.
Once established these plants can
spread quickly and become difficult
All of these bulbs pose a serious
threat to bushland, especially bulbil
watsonia (Watsonia meriana var. bul-
biliferra). Bulbil watsonia is of such
concern that it is declared under the
Natural Resources Management Act
2004 in South Australia.
Landholders are obliged to control
all declared plants in SA and these
species must not be moved or sold
anywhere in the State. A full list of
SA's declared weed species can be
found on the Board's website at:
Bulbil watsonia is not only an
environmental weed but poses a
great threat to pastures because of its
Selective grazing by stock results
in desirable pasture species being
replaced by bulbil watsonia through
lack of competition. Consequently,
decreased stocking capacity occurs.
Bulbil watsonia is from the
Iridaceae family and is an erect
perennial broadleaf herb to 2 metres
It has become a significant weed
in southern Australia, particularly in
the higher rainfall region of the
Mount Lofty Ranges. It was acciden-
tally introduced from South Africa
among ornamental gladioli and wat-
sonia bulbs and seed.
The leaves and flower stems are
produced annually, and the root sys-
tem is shallow, dense and fibrous. A
fan-shaped cluster of 5-7 erect
sword-shaped leaves that measure 3-
4cm in width and up to 1m long
grows at the base of each plant over
It has dark red flowering stems
between 1.5m and 2m tall, which
appear in spring.
The flowers are orange to dark red
in colour., and are tubular shaped
with six small petals and three pur-
ple stamens 5cm to 8cm long.
Bulbil watsonia rarely produces
viable seeds -- instead it has globular
clusters of up to 16 cormels (small
beaked corms about 1cm in size)
which form on the lower nodes of
the stem, replacing the flowers.
The cormel clusters are dark red
and about 2cm in diameter. These
clusters immediately distinguish this
weed from the garden species of
Chasmanthe, Crocosmia, Gladiolus
The corms can break off and
reproduce vegetatively. As a result,
they can be carried along water-
courses, roadside drains, and spread
by farm machinery, refuse dumping
and spreading of contaminated soil.
Underground there is a round flat-
tened corm encased in a tunic of
fibres which has the ability to
remain as a storage organ during
summer when the foliage dries off
and dies back. This enables it to be
resilient to fire and drought, and
survive in nutrient-deficient soils.
Dormant corms formed in the pre-
vious year germinate rapidly at the
first autumn rains and new corms
begin to form before the flower
appears. The leaves and stems die
back by midsummer.
Bulbil watsonia is difficult to con-
trol and a long-term integrated man-
agement strategy is required for
A variety of techniques can be
implemented in August, September
and October when control is most
slash plants close to the
ground when the inflorescence first
appears and again at the end of the
season, when the previous season's
corm is exhausted but new under-
ground corms are still developing.
in winter and
spring while the ground is soft and
wet, plants may be easily hand
pulled or dug to remove the corm,
ensuring all corms are removed and
and/or the cut and swab method
may be suitable as per label rates.
Ensure that you use the appropriate
herbicide and method to prevent
off-target damage, particularly to
native vegetation and water courses.
Please contact NRM Board staff for
chemical control options.
If you would like further informa-
tion or identification please contact
your local NRM Board office.
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges
Natural Resource Management Board
weed management guide:
Department of Primary Industries and
Resources of South Australia weed
Beware of winter weeds
Roslyn and Michael Walsh, Roolagoon, Gosse, Kangaroo Island, were
happy with the prices for their 68 spring 2010-drop Angus-Murray Grey
steers and heifers at Strathalbyn, averaging about $627.
By ALISTAIR LAWSON
PRICES at the latest Strathalbyn market eased slightly from last month's barn-
Most of the 950 cattle yarded in the Elders and Landmark joint feature sale
were supplied from the Fleurieu Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, Keith, Kangaroo
Island and Port Augusta.
Lighter weight steers were fully firm except for a handful of outstanding
sales, and their heavier counterparts eased by between $20 and $30.
It was a similar story with heifers. The younger ones remained fully firm,
while those at the top-end weights eased by $20-$30 as steer buyers changed
their tack in an endeavour to procure stock.
Angus and Murray Grey steers 9-10 months made to $740 and yearling
Angus and black baldy steers make to $790. Lightweight Shorthorn and Angus
steers made to $670.
Yarrah Nominees, Port Augusta, sold the top pen of steers, 11 Angus at $950
to T&R Pastoral's Peter Bond, who was very strong throughout and bought a
significant portion of the cattle on offer.
Yarrah Nominees sold the top pen of heifers, 11 Angus heifers at $920, and
another pen of 11 at $720.
BJF&PD Burns, Meadows, sold a solid line of 14 Poll Hereford steers, 18
months, at $860 to T&R, which also bought a pen of five Murray Grey steers
from PR Sandland, Peterborough, at $855.
West Creek Partners, Langhorne Creek, sold 12 steers at $850 and another
line of 18 to $750, both to T&R, and a solid line of Angus heifers at $755.
Brian Bartch, Mount Barker, sold a pen of six Simmental heifers at $855.
Some of the bigger pennings came from TA McKay, Kingscote, 28 Angus and
Red Angus heifers averaging just above $556 and 47 mixed-breed steers aver-
aging about $680.
Michael and Roslyn Walsh, Gosse, Kangaroo Island, sold 42 Angus-Murray
Grey-cross heifers averaging about $607 and 26 steers of similar breed and age
averaging about $652.
P Oborn yarded 43 mixed-breed steers, averaging just below $657.
Landmark Strathalbyn auctioneer Bradley Walker said he was very happy
with the way the sale went, considering the rising $A dollar depressing exports
of cattle, and prices "coming off".
"It wasn't quite as strong as recent markets, but the number and quality of
cattle yarded was all-round very pleasing," he said.
"The store job should hold up quite well. We've had a bit of rain and there's
plenty of feed around and we've still got orders for backgrounding. People still
need cattle to put away for the end of the year."
Elders Strathalbyn auctioneer Darrell Sims said there needed to be only "a bit
of rain" in the South East for the store market to strengthen.
He said that while T&R dominated the sale for the most part, local restockers
eventually took the chance to buy some cattle.
Cattle market prices ease
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