Flower fans a blooming nuisance

Elise Van AkenThe Kimberley Echo
Sunflower Sunsets, Kununurra.
Camera IconSunflower Sunsets, Kununurra. Credit: Danny Carter

The picturesque Ord Valley was awash with fluffy white cotton and bright sunflower crops ready for this year’s harvest, but onlookers have been urged by farmers not to trespass in the fields when tempted to take photos.

But while some heeded warnings of biosecurity risks, others continued to plod through the fields to pose for Instagram, thinking one quick snap would be harmless.

RB Dessert Seed Company sales manager Kayln Fletcher said this wasn’t just a risk to the crop, but the beautiful sunflowers could put unsuspecting admirers themselves in danger.

“We’re really trying to encourage tourists to take an interest in the agricultural industry, that’s our future market and its also important for the wider community to appreciate what agriculture does for our society,” she said.

“But when a someone actually enters the field there’s a risk to them as well, we’re spraying different crops with different insecticides and they have what we call a re-entry period.

“Our staff know not to go into those fields for whatever period of time, but if somebody else comes in without our permission I can’t tell them ‘please don’t enter’.”

RB Dessert Seed Company sales manager Kayln Fletcher said this is the closest you should get to a crop without permission from its farmer.
Camera IconRB Dessert Seed Company sales manager Kayln Fletcher said this is the closest you should get to a crop without permission from its farmer. Credit: Elise Van Aken/The Kimberley Echo

She said high bee populations, farming machinery and burning also posed hazards to unexpected visitors, but she was open to photographers asking permission to stage a shoot.

“I planted this year in a publicly viewable space so people could enjoy it,” she said.

“I know all out family get a lot of joy out of sunflowers and its a really safe spot for people to pull over and take pictures.

“We are trying top have a safe environment where people can enjoy agriculture, its just finding that balance to do that.”

While this year’s crop was harvested for its seeds, RB Desert Seed Co. was planning to plant an ornamental sunflower crop in time for next Mother’s Day that will be opened to the public as a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charity.

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