Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Ragwort Eradication Advice  (Read 15442 times)

Pedwardine

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Ragwort Eradication Advice
« on: February 26, 2012, 06:59:50 pm »
We have a three and a half acre rented paddock which our sheep have been grazing since last summer. It was a very neglected area which hadn't been grazed for a long time. There were a number of problems to deal with. The perimeter was not soundly fenced, but we have electric netting so we topped channels through and bunged an earth in. There was alot and I mean ALOT of ragwort predominantly on a patch of around an acre where there had once been buildings. We decided to leave that headache for another occasion and pulled up all the plants by hand where the decentish grazing was to be had. The plants were in full bloom so we didn't have the option of spot spraying. Hand pulling, though laborious it had to be...
Now then, to this year. We want to make use of the offending patch. How do we get rid? If we top there will be a large amount of dry ragwort which we know to be harmful to our sheep (we can't top closely because of the lumps of concrete that remain from the buildings that were there). Help? We're worried about the health of our sheep if we do it inefficiently.

deepinthewoods

  • Guest
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 07:02:30 pm »
it has to be pulled up, it pulls easily tho, have a ragwort party and get your mates to do it. then burn it.

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 07:49:39 pm »
Do not top it if there are stock in the field, and unless you are certain you can remove every single inch of cuttings, as the wilting concentrates the toxins but also removes the natural warning of the bitter taste that makes the sheep tend to avoid the mature plant. You are better leaving it than topping if theres a chance of stock having access to the area. If you spray, again the plants will wilt so stock must not be allowed access until the plants are removed, altho at least with spraying you will be able to remove the whole wilted plant with roots

Pulling is the only remedy, perhaps in conjunction with spraying any areas without stock in them. Pull twice, once pre flowering (to stop it flowering) and then again for any re appearance of young flowering stems later in the summer.

The good news is that the rubble that makes ragwort prone to infest an area will also make the roots shallow and easier to pull.

Always use gloves, it is toxic to humans as well as to animals, and burn it in a covered incinerator bin since in theory you arent allowed to burn it on an open bonfire because of the risk of seeds floating off in the smoke (actually thats a lower risk than not burning it and letting it seed on the land but still!)

If its any consolation, we have 40 acres here and almost all was infested when we arrived. Five years on we are still battling but (just using hand pulling) we have about 10 acres which is now grazeable, occasionally having to pull a few).

 I hate the stuff and altho I appreciate it is the habitat for the endangered cinnibar moth, the whole country is infested with it and so if the cinnabar moth is still endangered, which it is, then ragwort control as it currently happens aint the reason for its decline :-)) Even if all stock fields in the country were properly cleared, theres still millions of plants available for Mothy on railway embankments and waste ground which would feed them for hundreds of years!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 09:46:13 pm »
The old way was to send the cattle in first, as they recognise and avoid the ragwort.  Then, when all the plants are standing clear of the grazed sward, you can send the sheep in, as they now can see the ragwort plants and will avoid them.

Back then, it would've been hay for winter forage, not silage so much, so maybe again there was less toxicity in the winter feed too.  And/or perhaps the stock can avoid the plant better in hay than in silage.

Whether the cattle and sheep never got poisoned at all, or whether the toxicity took so long to reach critical levels that the animals had been culled before it became an issue, or whether it took so long to poison the stock that the link between ragwort and later liver damage was not made, I couldn't tell you.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Pedwardine

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 10:40:48 pm »
Ah therein lies the problem. Our other field upon which we wage constant battle is adjacent to the railway line. Every gap in the hedgerow and the seeds just come flying through. Network Rail very kindly spray it AFTER it has flowered and scattered it's seeds ??? We have asked them to tackle it at it's rosette stage but three years down the line ('scuse the pun) and the railway is still dramatically yellow come summer. This field is the next one along with a thicker and less gappy hedge before it. It's just been allowed to go ragwort crazy for a very long time.
Had a horrible sinking feeling it would be a pulling up job. Pulled some of the dry stuff up today and, I have to say, most came out of the ground with ease. I know about the glove wearing issue. Have occasionally done bare hands when spotted in the event of being unarmed (or ungloved as the case may be). Have one of them clever forks too. Another job of much labour looms, hurrah. You have however given me hope guys so thanks.

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 12:41:25 am »
well this reply could see me kicked of this forum
any animal of any age can get liver damage through ingestion of ragwort 4 month old calves get it and die sheep eat it when it is at the young stage before the stalk forms
cut ragwort in hay or silage is more deadly than growing plants
hand pulling is the best method of eradication
it does take years to eradicate but it is worth it
at one time if your farm was rented you could be turfed out if you did not eradicate the ragwort
and yes it is highly toxic to humans even the smell can cause illness
there is defra guide lines on the plant and it is a notifiable weed
this is all fact and not some idea  that is concocted >:( :farmer:

Pedwardine

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 08:28:26 am »
Well Robert, no arguments from me. I'm aware that it is notifiable which is why I've been on Networks Rail's case over it. We also have creeping thistle courtesy of them. I don't think anyone should treat the subject lightly. We had a very stupid friend once who wanted our sheep to munch down his field which horses had previously been grazing for some years. We had a look and it was packed with ragwort. "It'll only give 'em a bit of tummy ache" was his response. People have no idea of the damage it can do to pretty much any grazing animal. Needless to say we fell out over that one.
So, to reassure you, I'm taking this very seriously. My animals are more precious to me than certain members of my family!

Sylvia

  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 08:43:42 am »
Our land, too was thick with ragwort. Pulling it out by hand is the only way. If you find it difficult to pull use a small garden fork to loosen the roots first. Also you HAVE to burn it as even a dead looking plant will set seed! We have also had to pull it up in a neighbours field as they don't bother and it re-infesrs us again ::)

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 09:16:50 am »
get the defra information that sets out how to complain about a neighbour that does nothing or to late to prevent infestation of others
hay that is contaminated with ragwort  comes under the sale of goods act     NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE :farmer:

thepoisongarden

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 04:24:31 pm »
Some quite sound advice but also, I'm afraid, some common errors.

Ragwort is toxic to humans if ingested in sufficient quantity. (You struggle to ingest that quantity; it tastes absolutely awful.) Handling won't cause absorbtion of the toxins. Work on comphrey, which has the same toxins, suggested that you'd need to have 150kg on your skin to absorb a lethal dose.

Wearing gloves is advisable but mostly because the roughish leaves can result in mechanical damage to the skin. Also, if you already have liver damage, then gloves are essential.

It is untrue that the smell can produce illness. This myth comes about because the DEFRA Code of Practice says you should wear a face mask when pulling it. The draft COP went on to say that this was to avoid any possibility of hay fever but that got left out of the final version leading to this myth about the smell.

Also, it is not a notifiable weed. There no such thing in the UK. It is covered by the 1959 Weeds Act but all that requires is landowners to prevent it spreading. http://ragwort.org.uk/ has lots of information about the plant, how to remove it and, importantly how to manage pasture to keep it out.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 04:40:55 pm »
A big welcome to you poisongarden  :wave:  Sounds like you will be an asset to the forum!

I wonder if I can guess where you garden...  ;)

Hi from Cumbria, just over the border from Northumberland.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 05:09:07 pm »
sorry bud no errors
i have cleared all the ragwort from our fields  and there was considerably more than 150 kilos  try nearly 3 tons in the first year
after a 10 year period of pulling and collecting the weed i can assure you the smell does affect people
if your fields are cleared of the weed and your neighbour does not care about his fields  infecting others there is an act of parliament (at least in Scotland) that can be called into action to force that neighbour to eliminate it on his/her land :farmer:

Sylvia

  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 07:20:56 pm »
I'll second Robert's view on the smell. It makes me nauseous.

Possum

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Somerset
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 07:39:46 pm »
Thanks for the link Poisongarden.  Good to have so much information all in one place. :)

Brucklay

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Perthshire
    • Brucklay Pygmy Goats
    • Facebook
Re: Ragwort Eradication Advice
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 08:28:15 pm »
Re Scotland I found this which I remember reading before - extract

Under the Weeds Act 1959 the Scottish Ministers, if satis? ed that injurious weeds are
growing upon any land, serve a notice requiring the occupier to take action to prevent the
spread of those weeds. An unreasonable failure to comply with a notice is an offence. The
Weeds Act applies to
1
:
  Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
  Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
  Creeping or Field Thistle (Cirisium arvense)
  Curled Dock (Rumex crispus)
  Broad-Leaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius)

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/294252/0090932.pdf
Pygmy Goats, Shetland Sheep, Zip & Indie the Border Collies, BeeBee the cat and a wreak of a building to renovate!!

 

Buttercup eradication?

Started by pigalicious (9.09)

Replies: 8
Views: 3447
Last post May 27, 2018, 12:11:25 pm
by pigalicious
Nostoc commune eradication

Started by Foobar (8.99)

Replies: 10
Views: 12253
Last post November 07, 2012, 05:24:25 pm
by supplies for smallholders
Ragwort

Started by AndynJ (7.23)

Replies: 29
Views: 14693
Last post June 11, 2014, 06:23:35 pm
by shep53
Ragwort

Started by Skyfall (7.23)

Replies: 24
Views: 8832
Last post August 06, 2014, 11:30:38 am
by midtown
Ragwort

Started by goosepimple (7.23)

Replies: 9
Views: 4628
Last post September 24, 2014, 09:31:42 pm
by goosepimple

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2023. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS