New guidelines have been published which set out how farmers should dispose of the poisonous weed ragwort after it has been pulled up.

DEFRA has published a document, Guidance on the Disposal Options for Common Ragwort, which has been drawn up by ADAS.

The guidance highlights that incorrect disposal of ragwort is likely to lead to its further spread through seed dispersal and re-growth in root sections.

It suggests whenever practicable, ragwort should be disposed of on site as this will reduce the inadvertent spreading of seeds during transport.

Options for disposal include rotting down, composting, incineration, controlled burning and landfill.

Key pointers in the document include:

Don’t

● bury in manure heaps
● use as animal bedding
● dig, bury or plough into the ground
● attempt to dry ragwort where animals may gain access to it
● allow the liquid from decomposing ragwort to drain directly to any
ditch, drain or watercourse
● cause dark smoke by attempting to burn wet ragwort, or by using
other flammable materials that may directly cause dark smoke eg
rubber or plastics
● allow seed dispersal from plant residues that are awaiting disposal
● transport ragwort unnecessarily
● transport ragwort unless it is in sealed bags or containers