On Saturday, the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce (VBT) hosted a blackberry control demonstration day. The workshop was put together in response to productive conversations had at the VBT ‘Future opportunity and challenges for invasive species management’ forum held in Whittlesea back in May. Rural land managers were keen to learn more about integrated blackberry control and innovation so on Saturday the VBT, together with our local blackberry action group and supported by council, delivered on just that.
Attendees, including local residents, Landcare and Whittlesea & Surrounds Blackberry Action Group (W&SBAG) members mingled over morning tea in the sunshine before the demonstrations commenced. First up was a mulching excercise, conducted by a member of the Indigenous Design Environmental Services Team. Attendees kept their distance and looked on in awe as the mulcher made an easy meal of dead canes that had been treated with herbicide some time ago. Physical removal of blackberry enhances control results by reducing biomass, improving access and saving money in the longer term. However, mulching works best as part of an integrated control program, as it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the need for herbicide treatment.
Next up, Nathan from Advanced UAV showed the group his drone in action. Equipped with a 10L tank for herbicide, the drone is superbly accurate and can be programmed to move systematically across a defined area and seamlessly around obstructions such as farm sheds and tall paddock trees. T
Finally, just before we all tucked into a wonderful selection of sandwiches provided by a local bakery, Chris (W&SBAG project officer) and Roger (Kinglake Landcare) demonstrated the use of a spray rig. While many of us think we’ve got this method down pat, Chris and Roger were quick to point out some key operating and maintenance tips that ensure your rig, and its many components, have a longer operating life. The Kinglake Landcare group offer their rig for single day or weekend loans at a very reasonable rate. Landowners just sign a quick borrowing agreement, pay a small refundable deposit, and they’re on their way. Chris and Roger talked about the importance of equipment loans and sharing to make weed management more affordable and time effective, particularly for groups of neighbouring land managers.
The Land Management and Biodiversity Team would like to thank the Lyn Coulston and Barton Roberts of the VBT for hosting a fantastic morning of knowledge-sharing. Also a big thanks to Chris Coburn and Roger Cook from Kinglake Landcare, W&SBAG chair Peter Rutley, Adrian (landowner, property host) and all of the attendees who came along.
For detailed information on integrated blackberry control, click here to visit the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce website.
If you’d like further information on the above, contact the Land Management and Biodiversity team on 9217-2147.