21 December 2020.

Earlier this year, we reported on sunflower tourism season and how when it comes to the seemingly innocent activity of walking into a field of sunflowers, there’s more to it than many realise.

There are risks within a paddock filled with sunflowers: biosecurity, heavy machinery, snakes, bees, vermin, as well as tripping hazards.

Organisations including AgForce have developed biosecurity awareness material and travel tips for tourists, information centres, tourism organisers, social media, and for growers themselves.

Recent social media posts about #sunflowers indicate an emerging change in culture in the community, largely down to increased messaging from organisations like AgForce.

Sunflower tourism, however, remains a mainstay in the Darling and Southern Downs regions and typically thousands of annual sunflower visitors flock to enjoy photographing the magnificent blooms.

COVID-19 limited numbers in the annual pilgrimage in early 2020, but that hasn’t stopped selfie-loving tourists from visiting sunflower paddocks in the Cambooya and Clifton region near Toowoomba this holiday season, increasing the risk of carrying pests, diseases, and weeds between sunflower crops.

Forecast good summer rain may trigger further large sunflower plantings during January and February, which will, in turn, be in full bloom by early April, extending the tourist season.

The infographic and flyer included here are useful resources for everyone, including staff at tourist information centres.

The message from AgForce isn’t to stop anything – it’s that farms are workplaces, and if everyone is to enjoy the experience it’s important to show respect to growers and to be biosecurity conscious.

For more information contact AgForce SEQ Regional Manager Andrew Sinnamon 0427 144 298, AgForce Senior Policy Officer Marie Vitelli 0429 062 852, or Meg Kummerow from the Australian Sunflower Association 0427 606 983. 

Flyer (PDF) of tips for visiting sunflower regions.