Biological control of weedy Sporobolous grasses particularly Giant Rats Tail

The Biological control of weedy Sporobolous grasses particularly Giant Rats Tail project investigated the effects of Nigrospora on Giant Rats tail grass in the Mackay Whitsunday region. Infestations of Giant Rats Tail (GRT), are costly for the beef industry in terms of lost production and implementing control options. Current control techniques such as resewing with competitive species, fire and chemical control with selective chemicals are high input and results can be variable.

This project aimed to gauge the effects of the fungus Nigrospora oryzae on host plants of GRT grass within the Mackay Whitsunday region and make an assessment of its role as a potential form of biological control.

Project objectives were to:

  • cultivate a parasitic relationship between fungal infection of Nigrospora oryzae and GRT grass
  • demonstrate the relationship between time of inoculation and spread of disease
  • demonstrate the relationship between management practices (burning and slashing) and spread of disease
  • increase knowledge of disease identification in GRT grass
  • assess the viability of Nigrospora oryzae as a biological control of GRT grass.

A disease control demonstration was conducted by Department of Agriculture and Fisheries staff from Mackay at trial sites west of Mirani. The experiments looked at the effects of management practice, burning and slashing on the rate of spread and efficacy of the biological control agent Nigrospora oryzae. For more information, please download and read the final report (PDF 2 MB).

When: 19 November 2012 to 31 October 2015

Contact: Jim Fletcher

Collaborator: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries