Fireweed Control Research

The University of New England and CSIRO sought to reduce the impact of fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) on grazing industries and biodiversity in Australia. A native plant of southern Africa, fireweed is the worst weed of temperate and sub-tropical pastures in coastal New South Wales and south-east Queensland. It is poisonous to livestock, and is capable of germinating and flowering through much of the year, reducing the output from beef and dairy cattle production. As a result, fireweed is of great concern to farmers.

Research goals

  • Compile data for a fireweed application under the Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) nomination process.
  • Conduct research to fill gaps in our current knowledge of fireweed ecology and impacts.
  • Undertake initial investigation of potential biological control agents for fireweed in South Africa.
  • Identify current best practice management strategies for fireweed, and work with industry and community groups to extend these finds to agricultural landholders.

This project was led by Professor Brian Sindel, School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England. Research partners included CSIRO and the Institute for Rural Futures, University of New England.

Related publications

Sindel, B.M., Coleman, M.J. and Reeve, I.J. 2012. 'Putting fireweed on the front burner: improving management and understanding impact'. Paper presented to the 18th Australasian Weeds Conference, Melbourne, 8-11 October.
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Completed in 2012

Funded by: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Partners: Brian Sindel, Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England

Contact: The Institute for Rural Futures