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Wash down funding offer to help stop weed spread

28 Oct 2014

A funding program that helps landholders protect their properties from weed infestation is underway in the Maranoa region.

The Queensland Murray-Darling Committee (QMDC) and Santos GLNG are calling for landholders to apply for funding to set up their own private wash-down facility.

The offer is open to all land managers in the Maranoa Regional Council and Arcadia Valley areas.

The initiative funds up to 50 per cent of the first $10,000 in costs to establish individual facilities on private property, and 30 per cent once the total cost reaches over $10,000.

‘Mt Ascot Merino’ operators Nigel and Rosemary Brumpton have built a wash-down bay on their property ‘Baynham’ north of Mitchell and are benefitting from increased protection against invasive weeds such as parthenium.

Their operation includes a Merino stud, cattle and cropping with oats and wheat grown in winter, and mung beans and sorghum in summer. Most of the Brampton’s country has heavy black soil in which parthenium would thrive.

"Parthenium is our main concern as it’s only 15km away in the river at Mitchell but any noxious weed is a major threat," Mr Brumpton said.

Mr Brumpton said the funding was an incentive to construct a better facility on ‘Baynham’ to include a sloping cement slab, a pressure washer, a storage shed and cleaning equipment.

"The new wash-down bay is a luxury to what we would have built and is extremely beneficial. It has a trap that collects all the seeds so you can check to see that nothing germinates.

"Any machinery that comes on or off the place must be thoroughly washed down. We use the wash-down whenever it rains and there’s mud around, and it’s ideal for headers as you can blow seeds out from parts where you can’t use water."

In terms of design, their advice to others is to "keep it simple so you do build one!"

"Don’t make it too sophisticated, so long as water runs off one end and you can check for weeds and the germination of any weed seeds, it should work very well," Mr Brumpton said.

Santos GLNG’s Land Management Advisor for Roma, Jamie Gorry, said the business had already contributed nearly $1 million towards weed and pest management in Queensland and was pleased to continue its efforts through this initiative.

"By partnering with the QMDC, we’re able to help the farming community manage an issue that’s vitally important in regional Queensland," Mr Gorry said.

"Our commitment to help combat weeds and pests shows we take our responsibilities to our host communities seriously, as we build on our 50-year history of working in Queensland."

QMDC Special Projects Officer Janet Barker said washing down machinery and vehicles was one of the most cost-effective means of preventing weed spread.

"Spring is the time when new weed outbreaks are most likely to occur and any movement of vehicles, equipment, hay, grain, stock and soil has the potential to spread weeds.

"Maintaining a clean vehicle and ensuring visitors have an opportunity to wash their vehicle is just one simple strategy landholders can use to protect their property," Ms Barker said.

A private wash-down facility can be as simple as establishing a dedicated gravel or concrete pad on your property with access to water.

The funding offer closes on Friday, December 12, 2014. For an application pack, please contact the QMDC Roma Office on (07) 4620 4600 or email adminroma@qmdc.org.au.