The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group sincerely thanks all our community members, volunteers and landowners, who have helped us to destroy many more Wheel Cactus plants during 2018. Whatever your contribution, cooking delicious food or injecting plants, it is very much appreciated.
We held our 2018 AGM and ‘end-of-year’ celebration on Sunday 25th November. Our distinguished guest speaker was Greg Lefoe, a research scientist from the Agribio Department of Agriculture Victoria, based at La Trobe University, Bundoora. Greg specializes in Biological Control and told us about his work on several different biological agents being tested in his quarantined laboratory. It was surprising how many different types of organisms (such as mites, moths, fungi) are used in biocontrol and how many are currently being tested, released and used in Australia. Greg also explained that all organisms are thoroughly tested for host specificity and must undergo strict controls and approval by independent government bodies before release into our environment. He highlighted the many advantages in using biocontrol (inexpensive, no chemicals, reach inaccessible sites) and the very few drawbacks (time the organisms take to establish and the weather effect). After Greg’s excellent presentation, we all enjoyed a delicious lunch feeling much more reassured that using the Cochineal insect to help us control our Wheel Cactus problem is a safe option.
Our executive committee has remained the same (President Lee Mead, Vice-president Ian Grenda, Secretary Sharon Telford, Treasurer Tony Kane). Some ordinary member positions have also remained the same (Jill Bathgate, Frances Wade, Noel Muller, Rebecca James) and we warmly welcome a new member Harry Heraud. We take this opportunity to especially thank the outgoing committee members (Cheryl Kane, Barrie McKnight, Brian Thomas) for their many years of dedicated and tireless work (about 30 combined!).