The City of Whittlesea has backed farmers’ calls to reinstate a lobed needle grass eradication program.

Lobed needle grass, a state prohibited weed, is posing significant threat to the livelihood of farmers in the City of Whittlesea.

Under the Conservation and Land Protection Act, it is the responsibility of the state government to control the weed.

Despite it being one of the highest categories of noxious weeds in Victoria there is no eradication program.

Lobed needle grass is unpalatable to stock, can contaminate and reduce the value of wool and the sharp seeds can bury into the skin, mouths and eyes of animals. It takes over edible pasture grasses reducing the amount of available feed for livestock.

Mayor Kris Pavlidis said the weed had been found in Epping, Mernda and Donnybrook.

“Without an eradication program our farmers will have to graze less animals per hectare and commit their own resources to treat the weed and prevent further degradation of their land,” she said.

“According to the State Government’s database, the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, 87 per cent of the records of lobed needle grass are located within the City of Whittlesea.

“It is our strong view that it is still possible for lobed needle grass to be eradicated because infestation numbers are still relatively low.”

The City of Whittlesea is calling on all Members of Parliamnet to commit to reinstating a lobbed needle grass eradication program.