Serrated tussock targeted extension program

The ‘core’ of Victoria’s serrated tussock infestation is located to the west of Melbourne in the catchments of Port Phillip and Western Port, and Corangamite. The area on the perimeter of the core is defined by the State Government as the serrated tussock line of containment, commonly referred to as the ‘containment line’.

Agriculture Victoria manages infestations of serrated tussock in priority areas within the borders of the containment line, as well as isolated infestations scattered across the State, through enforcement projects as part of their Statewide serrated tussock containment program.

To support the State Government’s containment program and achieve the objectives of the Victorian Serrated Tussock Strategy 2023 – 2028, the VSTWP coordinates a targeted extension program in communities located along the containment line. Selectively focusing the program in this area produces greater public and long-term benefits by reducing existing infestations, and helps to prevent the spread of serrated tussock into un-infested areas.

The targeted extension program is pursuant to the principles and objectives of extension; providing information, advice and ideas to individuals or communities, thereby increasing their knowledge, capacity and confidence to independently tackle problems, while also influencing decision making and generating practice change.

Program Delivery

The VSTWP contracts Extension Officers to deliver free education and extension services to landholders in defined project areas, while also advocating the benefits of coordinated community action.

Extension Officers offer all landholders in a target area advice on serrated tussock identification and best practice management techniques. Landholders also have the opportunity to receive individual on-farm management advice and aerial maps of infestations discovered during the inspections.

The targeted extension program endorses the community-led approach to weed management by increasing landholder capacity to manage serrated tussock infestations for the long-term, encouraging communities to voluntarily manage serrated tussock, and in turn reducing reliance on government intervention.

Key achievements in the past 12 months

  • The VSTWP has strengthened its community education programs in strategic locations across Victoria over the past 12 months, supporting nearly 200 landholders in the Romsey, Hesket, Kilmore and Ballan regions.
  • Our extension officers have assessed over 5,500 hectares of land and observed a total of around 70 hectares infested with serrated tussock.
  • A total of 63 hectares were voluntarily treated by Landholders during this time, with the expert management guidance and advice provided by our extension officers.
  • All landholders in the three target areas were offered a free property visit, an information package detailing serrated tussock identification and management options, technical advice on serrated tussock control and a property map noting any serrated tussock infestations located.
  • Each of the three extension projects were launched with an information session or field day, with all landholders in the target area invited to discuss the project and learn about the biology, identification and services available to landholders affected by serrated tussock.
  • Many landholders new to these regions learnt how to identify and manage serrated tussock on their properties, reducing spread to adjoining areas.
  • The VSTWP Youtube channel has reached 13500 views and we have attended 7 community events and field days.
  • The VSTWP recently received a biosecurity award from the Federal Government, for excellent community projects delivered over the past 12 months.