Valuing land by controlling tussock – Meredith , Victoria, By Tim Johnston 2020

If anyone can appreciate the value of their land, it’s Rob and Heather Kent of Meredith.  As land valuers, the Kent’s opened the first real estate agency in Bannockburn in the 1970s and settled on their 750 hectare predominantly grazing property in the Meredith region soon thereafter.

In the early years, serrated tussock was not a significant problem on their property. Rob recalled when they had a botanist visit their property in the early 80s, who advised that it was unlikely that they would ever have an issue with serrated tussock due to the excellent groundcover.  This was ‘music to their ears’ and Rob and Heather were hopeful that this was to be the case.  Nevertheless, the Kent’s were wary of the noxious weed and controlled the occasional plant either via a shovel or spot spraying.

Several decades later, persistent droughts have impacted on the ground cover, and unbeknown to them, serrated tussock began taking hold, particularly on rocky outcrops along the main waterway on the property where the weed had little competition.

As part of the VSTWP ‘Teesdale North’ Extension program, Extension Officer Tim Johnston met with the Kent’s early in the summer of 2019 to discuss their serrated tussock management program.  Tim inspected the property and provided a farm map with locations of identified infestations, along with a property management plan to help manage the weed.

2019-12-05 15.35.44 Kent Native Hut Ck before
Native hut creek with significant serrated tussock in flower, Dec 2019.

Since then, the Kent’s have carried out an extensive spot spraying program using backpack sprayers containing a mix of glyphosate, flupropanate and red dye.  Mr Johnston revisited the property in October 2020 and noted excellent serrated tussock control, particularly along waterways where the noxious weed had taken hold.  Mr Johnston advises that the glyphosate provides a rapid kill of the plant whilst the flupropanate provides some residual control for up to 3 years.

2020-10-30 17.11.31 Kent after
Rob Kent at Native hut creek with significant ST infestations controlled via spot spaying with a glyphosate/flupropanate mix, Oct 2020.

The activities at the Kent’s property demonstrate the value of the VSTWP program in the region to promote awareness of serrated tussock, its identification and control methods.

Regular monitoring, management and neighbourly cooperation will continue to be an important of the Kent’s weed management program, as they continue to value their land.

The VSTWP would like to thank Rob and Heather for their continued commitment to control the noxious weed.