Paterson’s curse is a declared weed and is one of the PHBG’s priority pests. Patterson’s curse is a weed of agricultural land as well as roadsides and degraded bushland. It invades farmland and outcompetes pasture species, reducing the productivity of paddocks as well as posing a risk to livestock as it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic to stock, especially horses.
In the south west agricultural zone, Paterson’s curse has recently returned to the spotlight after seasonal conditions prompted a large germination during 2021. Paterson’s curse can be difficult for landholders to control as it can grow undetected amongst pasture until it flowers, sending up bright purple flower stalks. Once flowering, undertaking control is less successful as Paterson’s curse generally sets seed early. The optimal time to control Paterson’s Curse is when the plant is actively growing, during its ‘rosette’ growth stage.
The early detection and treatment of the plant before flowering is necessary to increase the success of control efforts. Through this project the PHBG will purchase a boom sprayer unit which will only be available to landholders during the optimal treatment time to yield the best possible results. The boom sprayer unit will enable landholders to apply selective herbicides, to paddocks containing Paterson’s Curse, to treat infestations across large areas during it’s rosette growth stage.
The PHBG offers specialty equipment free of charge to landholders within its operational area. The PHBG will undertake a seasonal media campaign to encourage uptake, as well as directly inviting any landholder that receives a ‘Landholder Alert Letter’ for Paterson’s curse to participate in the project.