WeedStop vehicle hygiene case study
DPI* and the Australian Agricultural Contractors Association (AACA) jointly developed and ran WeedStop, a training program to reduce the spread of weeds on private land.
WeedStop training sessions were delivered across Victoria to over 60 contractors in the fodder industry. Tailored to the needs of AACA members, the sessions covered weed identification and classifications of declared weeds, and practical exercises on job planning and clean-down methods to reduce weed spread. Participants also had an in-depth look at the roles and responsibilities of the fodder industry and its contractors.
Overcoming initial resistance and time constraints, contractors were particularly interested in WeedStop training because it provided a national accreditation and could help prevent litigation. This was particularly important because over the years landholders were concerned that contractors had introduced weeds onto private land.
Success of the program saw the AACA collaborate with DPI* to develop its own vendor declaration form. The form gives customers assurance that contractors' machines have been cleaned after the previous job and free from weed material.
By participating in WeedStop training, AACA members are now able to promote themselves to farmers as accredited, environmentally aware operators who can help maintain farm biosecurity from invasive plants.
The AACA is now developing the capacity to deliver WeedStop training to its own members. It is also advocating key prevention messages to the broader community through its communication networks, and collaborating with DPI* to convene an Agricultural Contractors Forum to share knowledge and promote partnerships.
DPI*, Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Australian Agricultural Contractors Association
* DPI and Department of Sustainability and Enviroment merged on 1 July 2013 to form the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI). References to former department names above are due to the activities described in the case studies taking place prior to merger.