MLA has confirmed they have received reports of pasture dieback from a landowner in the Roma district.
The landowner notified MLA “prior to the last rain event” and is the furthest west the issue has been officially reported in the Queensland.
MLA Research and Development Program Manager Doug McNicholl said they hoped to visit the suspected area in the coming weeks to take samples and confirm whether or not it was in fact pasture dieback.
“We have had a landowner express concern about the presence of dieback,” he said.
“We haven’t been able to confirm it with testing or anything and indeed we are still waiting on our testing that’s going on to conclude. Certainly we don’t want to unduly raise anyone’s concerns.”
A producer from Millmerran, at the Darling Downs, has also reported a case that is yet to be sampled.
Over the past two-and-a-half years, areas from Cairns down to Beaudesert have been affected with both introduced and native grasses at risk.
The impact heightened last year in Central Queensland and the Wide Bay Burnett with up to 90 per cent of some producer’s pastures impacted.
Since the issue was placed in the spotlight last year, Mr McNicholl said more people were aware of dieback but being such a generic term meant it was a very complex diagnosis.
“People are continuing to reach out to us,” he said.
“It’s such a complex environmental issue that dieback is such a generic term.
“Is it dieback? If it is, what is causing it? Is it the same cause at all these locations? Is it a variation? What is triggering it? To what extent is the local environment exasperating the problem pathogens? That’s why no one has been able to solve the problem because it’s a very complex diagnosis process.”
While lab testing into the cause of the problem is continuing, MLA is in the process of starting treatment trials including using burning techniques with different timings and fuel loads, mechanical intervention and fungicide applications.
Early research findings indicate pasture dieback may be caused by a fungus, which if proven correct, doesn’t have a simple cure and could see producers forced to find management techniques to overcome the problem.
Anybody who identifies symptoms of pasture dieback on their property around the Roma district or anywhere in the state is encouraged to report it to MLA by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org