Ragwort

mrsmojos

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Cornwall
Hello!
New problem...we recently bought a small holding and our field has ragwort.
After enquiring into dealing with the ragwort, we were advised to cut it, and when it begins to grow again we can get it sprayed....
...we bought the old (very old) tractor the previous owners were selling with the property so we thought no problem!
The tractor had a breakdown after an hour of cutting (the radiator pipe split and we've ordered a new one but it's coming from France which may take a while).
Question - what do we do? Leave the field and write it off until next year or hire someone to come and cut the rest of the field?
I am a bit worried because our neighbours have sheep grazing in the field next to ours, how toxic is ragwort?
All advice greatly appreciated!!
 

Brisel

Member
NFFN Member
Location
North Yorkshire
What animals do you want to graze there? They won’t graze living plants but if some has been cut there’s a risk they might ingest the residues which are highly toxic to everything but sheep.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Hi!

Ragwort toxicity is one of those things that builds up in stock. Some stock won't touch it (eg, horses won't) and this helps it get away.

Other animals (eg, sheep) keep it under control by defoliating it at rosette stage. It's a biennial plant, so if it can't grow in its first year, it doesn't turn into a great big yellow monster with tens of thousands of seeds (y)

However, the rosettes are flat to the ground, mowing will take out the second-year (flowering year) plants and tip the rosettes, but that's about it.
Really needs a good flock of ewes in there every year, or cutting and spraying every year, once they become a nuisance.

Winter spraying can be quite effective so long as the field is dry enough to get on (broadleaf weed sprays knock clover, by spraying when the field is grazed tight and the clover is dormant, it limits the collateral damage).

Possibly the worst danger is to cut the field (topping) and then have hungry stock break in and eat the wilted ragwort - the toxins are condensed, but the horrid taste seems to go when wilted.

But, if your neighbour's ewes got in to a field with growing ragwort in it, it probably won't hurt them much at all.
 

roscoe erf

Member
Livestock Farmer
Sorry incorrect,
Ragwort is not a notifiable weed,
This is a misconception,
notifiable may have been the wrong word
The Weeds Act 1959, is the earliest, which lists noxious weeds whose spread must be controlled.

Included under this Act are:

  • Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
  • Broadleaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius)
  • Curled leaved Dock (Rumex crispus)
  • Spear Thistle (Circium vulgare)
  • Creeping Thistle (Circium arvensis)
They are all native species but were deemed problematic in the post war drive for agricultural efficiency and self sufficiency in food. As mentioned above Ragwort is the most notorious and it was the threatened repeal of the Weeds Act that fired the public debate which eventually led to the Ragwort Control Act 2003.
 

renewablejohn

Member
Location
lancs
its a notifiable weed and you should burn the cuttings in situ as that ground is already seed burdened you don't want to spread it
False. Its only Common ragwort which is a problem and can get you into trouble under the weeds act. Just because its a plant with a yellow flower does not mean it is Common ragwort. Lovely horsey neighbors of my mothers field reported her for having a field full of Common Ragwort. After a 250 mile round trip meeting with the inspector he agreed with me there was no Common ragwort in the field it was lots of other plants with yellow flowers the nearest to Common ragwort being the Hoary ragwort. As such no case to answer and a warning letter to the horsey neighbor explaining the harrassment should not continue.
 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
Pull as much as you can now, and burn it (take care when pulling it not to to agitate the seed heads and allow seeds to blow everywhere, as the plants will be dying and preparing to release seeds at this time of year). A small garden fork is helpful to loosen the soil around the root, makes getting it all out intact much easier. If you can't pull it all try at least to remove the seed heads and burn them, you don't want millions of seeds blowing everywhere, as they will be soon if you do nothing.

Then spray in the spring with Forefront T, its about the only grassland spray that really has an impact on ragwort in all its stages of growth, its expensive but it does work. Then pull anything that escapes the spray next summer, and from then on. Forefront can only be used on grazing land, so you can't use it if you plan to make hay or silage from the ground.
 

essexpete

Member
Location
Essex
If there is a huge population and too daunting to pull, then a possibility it to carry a sack, satchel -like and, with a gloved hand, pull off the heads.
If you are pulling late, often the plant will come up leaving roots behind which will regen next year. The main thing at this stage is to stop the seeds blowing.
 

roscoe erf

Member
Livestock Farmer
False. Its only Common ragwort which is a problem and can get you into trouble under the weeds act. Just because its a plant with a yellow flower does not mean it is Common ragwort. Lovely horsey neighbors of my mothers field reported her for having a field full of Common Ragwort. After a 250 mile round trip meeting with the inspector he agreed with me there was no Common ragwort in the field it was lots of other plants with yellow flowers the nearest to Common ragwort being the Hoary ragwort. As such no case to answer and a warning letter to the horsey neighbor explaining the harrassment should not continue.
see above
 

solo

Member
Location
worcestershire
Pull it or cut it and burn, then spray regrow about a month later. Next year graze it with sheep and after a year or so it will disappear provided you don’t let it regrow or seed.
 

Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Written by Lisa Applin

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In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is 1 of the 3 new environmental land management schemes. It sits alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers will be paid for environmentally sustainable actions – ones that are simple to do and do not require previous agri-environment scheme experience.

We are piloting the scheme to...
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