Red Witchweed (Striga asiatica)

National Management Group for Red Witchweed Communiqué

Eradication of Red Witchweed (Striga asiatica)

27 February 2015

Response to Red Witchweed Progresses to Next Stage

The Red Witchweed National Management Group (NMG) met on 27 February 2015 to further consider the eradication response to the outbreak of red witchweed (Striga) at Mackay, Queensland.

A number of potentially affected industry and government parties participated in the NMG and agreed that it was technically feasible and beneficial to eradicate Red witchweed from the known infested area and endorsed in-principle an eradication response plan.
The response will now move to the next stage of industry and government parties that are sharing costs, meeting as a priority to determine contributions and the subsequent funding approvals required.

Reaching agreement on a national approach to the eradication response has been complex. The weed is not covered under the existing industry and government eradication agreements which prescribe matters such as decision making and cost-sharing arrangements. The response to Striga has been undertaken in accordance with the principles and arrangements set out in the national eradication agreements.

A key consideration for the NMG was the outcomes from a joint industry and government taskforce which met over February 2015 and developed a revised eradication strategy as the basis for an agreement between cost-sharing partners. This taskforce included government parties and representative bodies for the industry sectors impacted by this weed, including Grain Producers Australia, CANEGROWERS and the Cattle Council. AgForce, Plant Health Australia and Animal Health Australia also participated. The Red Witchweed Consultative Committee has also reviewed the revised approach and considers it a cost-effective strategy for the eradication of Striga.

Background

Red witchweed (Striga asiatica) is a parasitic plant that grows attached to the roots of certain grasses.

It was confirmed in sugarcane at Habana, near Mackay on 11 July 2013 and six properties are known to be affected.

Although currently contained to these properties, if it spreads it has potential to adversely impact a number of cropping industries which are important to agricultural production in Australia and international trade and may also become a weed in pastures and native grasslands.

Further information

Further information is available at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

If you suspect red witchweed on your property please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or report via the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.​