Controlling ragwort is a must
Young ragwort plants form low rosettes. These rosettes have leaves which are variable, either undivided, or simply divided into smaller lateral lobes. They are deep bottle green, tinged purple and glossy on the upper surface.
Even at this stage, ragwort is toxic to animals, in particular horses and cattle. Preventative measures, such as spotspraying with a selective herbicide or hand-pulling can save animal lives and minimise the risk of further weed infestation.
Most cases of animal poisoning occur after ragwort has been pulled or cut and left in the field. The plant is more palatable when wilted but remains toxic so plants should be completely removed before any animals graze the field. Ragwort is also poisonous if made into hay or silage.
The Welsh Assembly Government wishes to remind all landowner/occupiers including Local Authorities, Trunk Road Agencies and Network Rail that they have a statutory responsibility to prevent and control the spread of ragwort under the Weeds Act 1959. It is also a requirement for farmers under Cross Compliance. Guidelines for the safe removal and disposal of ragwort can be found in The Code of Practice to Prevent and Control the Spread of Ragwort.
For your copy of the code please phone 0300 062 2306 or visit the Injurious weeds pages on the Welsh Assembly Government website.