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How To Control Ragwort In Paddocks

See our A > Z  weed guide on Ragwort HERE


There are many reasons why you would want to control weeds in your pastures.

  • They compete with grass for space, light nutrients and water.
  • They are unpalatable to livestock and therefore can take over pasture and limit the availability to grazing.
  • They make pastures look messy and untidy.

The main reason however is that many weeds can be poisonous to livestock, one weed that is the most common is Ragwort.

‘The weeds act 1959 requires that if an order is served on them, landowners have to control common ragwort, docks and thistles. The Ragwort Control Act (2003) strengthens this by placing the onus on the occupier to take action where ragwort is posing a serious risk to grazing animals.’

How to identify Ragwort

Ragwort is a fairly recognisable weed however if you are unsure you need to look for the following characteristics:

  • Its flower heads are yellow with several flower heads on top of a branded stalk. They are daisy like with a large central disk.
  • It has a tough stem, usually tall and more commonly seen in rough grassland.
  • The leaf is long and irregular cut giving a ragged appearance.

Controlling Ragwort

Treating Ragwort in September with a selective herbicide such as ‘Thrust’ before being frost hardened; or spring at rosette stage is the best time to treat it. Ragwort is a poisonous weed but is unpalatable to grazing animals. However once it is sprayed or cut it loses its bitter taste so it is very important that animals are not returned to the pasture until the ragwort is fully decayed; this could take up to 4 weeks.

Top Tip: Eliminating Ragwort may take several years as Ragwort seeds can germinate for years. It is important to keep on top of it as soon as the problem is identified to stop the problem from getting worse.

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