Friday, 17 July 2009

Ragwort: To be or not to be?

At this time of year the fields behind us are usually covered in Ragwort; however, this year there is a lot less, so I am guessing Mr Farmer has sprayed it.

I am not a big fan of chemical weedkillers but as I have mentioned in a previous post, I do think Ragwort needs to be controlled as it can kill grazing animals, particularly horses, and its yet to be decided if it is dangerous to humans. Having said that I have really enjoyed this year, seeing the masses of Cinnabar Moths, whose larval food is Ragwort. In turn, every strand of the remaining Ragwort is now covered with their attractive stripy caterpillars.

A lot of people in the horse world feel that Ragwort should be totally eradicated but surely we need to try and respect that whilst it can be deadly to one species it can be a lifeline to another. I really do sympathise with people who have lost much loved horses to this weed though and hate the thought of any horse, let alone one of the horses I ride, dying in such an unpleasant way. All very confusing...I really don't know what to think.


Emma Anderson said...

Lovely pictures of the Cinnabars. I'm still trying to find six-spot burnetts this year.

Helen said...

Hi Emma...We have had quite a lot of Burnetts around here this year. I often find them settled on Scabious flowers at dusk but because the light is not good I can't seem to get a decent picture. During the day they keep flying away just as I get the camera ready:-)