Determining the cost of tussock: Victoria

We are often asked about the economic, environmental and social cost of serrated tussock to the Victorian economy, and at the moment, we really don’t know. The VSTWP have a number of outdated and often irrelevant figures from other states and from within Victoria, but nothing up to date and accurate in todays terms.

Recently the VSTWP committed budget for economic modelling to determine the economic, social and environmental cost of serrated tussock to Victoria. This information will help the VSTWP to effectively communicate the importance of controlling serrated tussock and to advocate for funding.

We will soon advertise an EOI and hope to determine some suitable consultants for this massive task. The VSTWP are keen to obtain accurate figures, as serrated tussock has the potential to infest entire properties. It has been described as causing a greater reduction of pasture and grazing carrying capacity than any other weed in Australia. Pastures that can normally carry 7–15 dry sheep equivalent (DSE) per hectare (ha) can be reduced to a carrying capacity of only 0.5 DSE per hectare if heavily infested with serrated tussock. The updated figures will allow us to apply for suitable funding, to match the size of the problem.

serrated tussock can dominate grasslands and pastures
Serrated tussock can cost landowners massively if left to dominate pastures. Photo: VSTWP

A list of previous economic figures can be found below,;

  • In 1988, serrated tussock was estimated to be costing the Australian Wool Industry approximately $12.9 million annually (Sloane Cook and King Pty Ltd 1988).
  • Aberdeen (1995) stated that Victoria could save approximately $35 million per year if it restricted the distribution of serrated tussock to 200 000 hectares.
  • A conservative figure for the cost of serrated tussock in Victoria is $5 million per year (Nicholson et al. 1997) and for New South Wales $40 million per year (Jones and Vere 1998).

The VSTWP is seeking up-to-date evidence-based information to effectively communicate the importance of controlling serrated tussock and to attract funding. It is hoped the project will be finished by June 2023.

General information on the VSTWP and impacts of serrated tussock can be found on the VSTWP website https://serratedtussock.com/about/impacts-of-serrated-tussock