Meat & Livestock News

Rising Concerns Over Pests and Weeds in Australian Agriculture: A National Survey Reveals Increased Expenditure and New Challenges

Gardener hand in a protective suit and spray fertilizer on huge cabbage vegetable plant

The latest national survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has revealed growing concerns among land managers about pests and weeds.

The 2022 survey indicates that 85% of land managers spent an average of around $21,950 on managing pest and weed species this year, highlighting an increased level of commitment required for effective control.

Dr Jared Greenville, Executive Director of ABARES, stated that the survey results demonstrate the escalating challenges faced by land managers. “Feral animals continue to have a significant impact on properties,” he said.

The survey revealed that 89% of land managers reported issues due to feral animals in 2022, a rise from 85% in 2019. Foxes, rabbits, rats, and mice were identified as the most problematic species. Additionally, new or increasing numbers of feral pigs and deer were reported to be causing damage.

Various methods are being employed to manage these pest animals. Ground shooting remains the most common activity, utilised by about 75% of land managers. The use of pesticides or insecticides and ground baiting were also cited as popular control measures, engaged by approximately 50% of land managers.

The survey also pointed to a slight but significant increase in weed-related issues since 2019. About 60% of land managers reported problems with Weeds of National Significance in 2022, up from 58% in 2019.

New types of weeds reported include Fireweed, Feathertop Rhodes grass, Fleabane, African lovegrass, Thistles, and Giant rats tail grass. Over 80% of land managers are actively managing these weeds, with herbicides being the most commonly used method.

The survey results underscore the need for ongoing vigilance and innovative management strategies to tackle the growing problems of pests and weeds in Australian agriculture.