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Australian New Crops Project - asbestos grass press release

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Australian New Crops Project - asbestos grass press release
Is Asbestos Grass a Threat to Northern Australia?
Asbestos Grass has been identified as a possible economic threat to pastoralists in
northern Australia. A research project has been developed by Vanessa Alsemgeest to
determine the potential problem with Asbestos grass. Miss Alsemgeest is a postgraduate
student with the University of Qld. Gatton. The project is supported by AA Co, the DPI
and NRM.
Miss Alsemgeest noted that the grass may be spreading through some areas of mitchell
grass pastures and replacing the valuable forage species. Asbestos grass is unpalatable
and cannot be controlled by fire (this is where its common name came from). Miss
Alsemgeest added that it is also known as bastard grass (for obvious reasons!).
Little else is know about asbestos grass Miss Alsemgeest said. This has led her to initiate
an information gathering exercise ­ to survey as many graziers as possible who have any
experience or knowledge of the grass. She anticipates that there would be considerable
observations held by graziers on the grass. If she can collect as much of this information
as possible, Miss Alsemgeest said she should be able to clarify the level of threat of the
species and determine what are the next steps in research. It is also possible that there is
enough information already available through graziers for this to be developed in to some
preliminary management advice, Miss Alsemgeest added.
Miss Alsemgeest is keen to involve as many graziers and others who are aware of
anything that would contribute to the knowledge base on asbestos grass. The survey
takes only a few minutes to complete. If anyone would like to contribute to the survey
they can obtain the sheets from Miss Alsemgeest by contacting her by telephone on
07 4624 1714, by fax on 07 4622 4824 or by email:
She can then fax, email or "snail mail" the material to them. The survey form can also be
downloaded from:
. Contributors will be
forwarded their own copy of the findings when Miss Alsemgeest has completed the

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