South West farmers weigh in on arum lily battle

Bob Biddulph says it is important landholders take action against arum lily in the region. Photo: Taelor Pelusey.

Bob Biddulph says it is important landholders take action against arum lily in the region. Photo: Taelor Pelusey.

Farmers are reclaiming productive grazing land from arum lily and improving environmental outcomes in the Margaret River area as part of the three-year region-wide Arum Lily Blitz.

Supported by $340,360 in funding from the WA Government's State Natural Resource Management Program, the Blitz has been bringing together local and State Government agencies, environmental organisations and private landholders since 2019 for coordinated control efforts across all land tenures.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region Project Officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith has been at the program's helm since its inception and said it was encouraging to see the agricultural sector's support for the Blitz.

"By getting involved, farmers are not only clearing arum lily from their land, but they're preventing it from spreading to areas of high environmental value," she said.

"They're also protecting their livestock because, if ingested, this toxic weed can prove fatal to animals."

Bob Biddulph is a local dairy farmer who has been active in controlling arum lilies for about a decade.

Having been in the region since the 70s, he has witnessed firsthand how easily they can take over.

"They just spread so easily," he said.

"All it takes is for birds to drop them over the fence line and they can start spreading all over again."

To combat this, the Blitz is providing a coordinated approach and, in turn, lessening the likelihood of re-infestations.

Mr Biddulph said it was important landholders took action now, especially now with the Blitz really picking up momentum.

"Dealing with individual plants is like anything really - you've got to get on top of it before they get on top of you," he said.

"If you don't do something now, you'll end up with a problem in a couple of years, and as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure."

The Arum Lily Blitz is now in its third year and provides participants with free herbicide, easy-to-follow instructions, and other invaluable resources.

Its goal is to reclaim native habitat from the arum lily, which chokes native vegetation, reduces the availability of food for wildlife and threatens biodiversity.

To get involved, register at natureconservation.org.au

This story South West farmers weigh in on arum lily battle first appeared on Augusta-Margaret River Mail.