Driving along our roads I can tell who is competent at managing their paddocks, their livestock and ultimately, their immediate community. Fireweed –amongst others, is the number one indicator of such competency, or lack of. There are two dead simple ways in tackling it, for good.
Yes, it’s a mind-numbing exercise, bent in half like if you’re working in a rice paddy, empty feedbag in hand, bending, pulling, bagging, bending, pulling, bagging…
Make a party out of it. Invite your mates. Feed them well and stock the fridge with beverages. Drive the ute in the paddock and put the music full blast. Be creative.
Don’t wait for the plant to be in full bloom. Get it when the flowers are just about to bud. Then pull it and leave it on the ground.
If you left it too long and the flowers are formed, then pull it and bag it.
If you leave that pesky plant to grow flowers and seeds, you’re only going to be successful at reducing the profitability of your paddock (and at aggravating your case with your neighbours). Your livestock won’t eat that weed and gradually, the weed will have outcompeted the nutritious grass. Your livestock with loose condition, and your land, value.
Put five cows on 5ha and let them graze at will, what do you think they’ll eat? The tasty, juicy nutritious new blades of grass of course! That grass gets knocked down then starts growing again, then gets knocked down. And grows again (but less vigorously), and again and again… Meanwhile, the bad quality grass and the weeds grow at will, undisturbed, completing their lifecycle and inoculating the land with seeds…
Reduce your livestock grazing area (that increases the stocking rate) and move your livestock to fresh new lush grazing cell once they knocked down hard the previous one…
Drive along our roads and observe nearby paddocks. Some will make you go “Meh! Horrible!”, while others will make you want to roll with glee in that lush weed-free pasture!