Pasture dieback reported near Kyogle

Pasture dieback reported at Kyogle, producers urged to stay vigilant

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Signs of pasture dieback on a property. Photo: LLS

Signs of pasture dieback on a property. Photo: LLS

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Pasture dieback is spreading further south.

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North Coast Local Land Services is encouraging farmers to keep on the lookout for signs of pasture dieback after two cases were confirmed near Kyogle.

Pasture dieback kills sown and native summer growing pastures and was first reported in the Tweed Valley in March.

Since them two recent confirmations have been made north of Kyogle in early October.

Much of the publicity around the mysterious condition has been in Queensland and since 2016 it has spread from central Queensland up to far north Queensland and now down to NSW, impacting thousands of acres of country.

Nathan Jennings, Senior Land Services Officer - Agricultural Advice with North Coast Local Land Services, said producers needed to keep a close eye on their sown and native summer growing grasses.

Signs of pasture dieback include yellowing, reddening and purpling starting at the tip and moving along the leaf blade and grasses dying, and remaining plant material crumbling when handled.

Landholders should watch for these symptoms especially after significant rainfall.

"These symptoms can also be associated with a range of other factors such as mineral deficiency, moisture stress or waterlogging, herbicide damage, or insect pests. So, it is important to eliminate these before assuming it's pasture dieback," Mr Jennings said.

Sarah Baker of NSW Department of Primary Industries said pasture dieback was most likely caused by a complex interaction of multiple agents and factors, rather than a single agent.

North Coast Local Land Services and NSW DPI are working together to find solutions for managing pasture dieback in NSW.

"Sowing broadleaf forages into dieback areas is the most logical option for those with arable land," Mr Jennings said.

"Plant species available include legumes, herbs and brassicas, but their suitability and management on your farm will need to be considered."

"We do not recommend re-sowing perennial grasses into dieback affected areas as all summer growing perennial grass species commonly sown in NSW are susceptible to pasture dieback," Ms Baker said.

Suspected pasture dieback should be reported to the Exotic Plant Pest hotline, 1800 084 881, or email biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au with a clear photo and contact details.

North Coast Local Land Services plan to deliver field days on pasture dieback over the next few months. To register phone 1300 795 299 or email admin.northcoast@lls.nsw.gov.au.

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