New solution to a prickly problem

25 October 2018

Acland Pastoral Company (APC) has come up with a unique solution to what has become a prickly problem for landholders across the State.

In collaboration with local contractor Luke Scheuerle, APC is trialling a new method to remove African Boxthorn, roots and all, from its property.

African Boxthorn is a thorny scrub introduced into Australia from South Africa in the 1800’s to be used as a hedge. It grows up to five metres high and three metres across and has become a real issue for farmers across the Darling Downs.

APC Business manager, Tim Burgess said the weed was well established on APC land when the Company purchased the properties that make up Acland Pastoral years ago and they have been waging battle with it for years. However they are now hopeful they have an answer to the prickly problem.

“We designed an implement that attaches to the front of a bobcat that is able to pull boxthorn from the ground, removing the tap root and limiting regrowth potential,” Tim said.

“We then stockpile the shrubs in the paddock for burning later.

“As an added bonus, the cattle love the stockpiles and use them for shade and scratching posts.”

So far approximately 445 hectares of the prickly pest has been removed using this innovation.

Post the removal operation APC spreads bluegrass seed in the disturbed ground to assist with pasture recovery.

But that’s not the only application for this innovative contraption.

Tim said the boxthorn puller doubles as a fence post puller.

“We found the machine works equally well as a weed puller and a fence post puller,” Tim said.

“Working in tandem with the fence roller, also developed in conjunction with Luke, the two machines are making the task of removing the redundant fences on the APC property much easier and safer.

“Our trials to date have been quite successful.

“During the trial we were able to pull and roll 1.5km of fence per hour, improving productivity, saving time and money and working safer.”

Tim said an area of APC has been targeted for the boxthorn removal trial and early results are positive, however only time will tell if spraying is required to manage possible regrowth.