Itch Grass

The Problem

Itch grass is competitive with annual crops and invades sugarcane, pastures and roadsides. It is difficult to manage once established. Because of its size and vigorous growth, itch grass is competitor for sugarcane and heavy infestations can cause severe crop loss.

While sometimes described as unpalatable to livestock, grazing has shown to the reduce incidence of Itch grass.

A single large plant can produce 2,000 to 16,000 seeds that are shed by the plant as soon as they mature. It is a significant weed in several crops including maize, sugarcane, upland and rain-fed rice, beans, sorghum and perennials such as citrus and oil palm at early stages of growth.

The Project

Reef Catchment has partnered with Whitsunday Catchment Landcare and Whitsunday Regional Council to control the impacts of itch grass on high quality agricultural land. Delivery of this project involves on-ground activities, including monitoring and control of known infestations of itch grass, surveying within identified high-risk areas and monitoring of outlier infestations. These on-ground activities are delivered in conjunction with training of landholders in best practice management control techniques.


Mackay Regional Pest Management Group, 2013, Weeds of the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac Region, Mackay Regional Pest Management Group.

Further Information

Reef Catchments fact sheet
Sugar Research Group information sheet


Chris Barbeler
M: 448 016 158