Canola Selfies: Why Farmers Are Begging You to Stop Taking Snaps in Their Fields

canola selfies

If you haven’t driven out to the middle of nowhere, trampled through a random field, and taken a whole heap of selfies, what kind of self-respecting social media addict are you?

Right now it’s canola season, or, as farmers like to call it, get-the-hell-off-my-property season.

You see, the bright yellow fields of flowering canola — otherwise known, in an extremely unfortunate bit of etymology, as ‘rape’ — are a magnet for wannabe influencers. However, pulling up in rural areas to go traipsing across people’s crops in search of the ultimate #selfie is an absolute ‘no’ on a number of levels.


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Tim Condon, an agronomist working in NSW, told The Guardian recently that he had to slam on the brakes after coming over a hill at 90kms and finding two car loads of families with little kids across the road taking photos.

“Luckily I was in a Prado and had the wits about me so I could stop in time. If I had been a big double stock crate, full of stock, you wouldn’t have been able to stop. So that really hit me in the face at how unaware a lot of these people are,” he said.

“They’re straight up a biosecurity risk in the current environment, so that’s a concern for growers.”

It’s not the first time that tourists have been warned about the dangers of taking photos on other people’s land. Back in 2018, farmers in Western Australia’s Avon Valley expressed their frustration at people trespassing on their land and potentially spreading diseases to their crops to take pics.

Jeff Russell, from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, told the ABC at the time that people are likely unaware of the damage they could be doing.

“The danger is that if they are going from paddock to paddock to get that perfect photo, they themselves could be transporting weeds and maybe soil-borne pests on their vehicles from paddock to paddock,” he said.

“You don’t know if that paddock has been sprayed with a pesticide. Especially with the weather warming, you have got aphids coming out and farmers do one or two sprays of a pesticide to keep them in check.

In fairness, blame can hardly be laid on the out-of-towners, given that multiple local and state authorities have ‘canola trail’ driving guides to attract tourists to regional areas.

Riverina Council, in south-west NSW, advises people to “follow the Canola Trail as it winds through spectacular fields of gold” while Destination NSW, the state’s top tourism board, has a guide on how to “get your canola-field Insta shot.”

The former does actually advise tourists to “practise canola etiquette and not trample across the fields and precious crops” although it seems their message hasn’t been heeded.

Just last week, in Victoria, struggling farmers said that their biggest crop of canola ever recorded could be threatened by both “ill-timed rain” and “amateur photographers” spreading livestock diseases.

If you are planning to get your boots on and get that perfect shot, make sure you get the permission of the farmer first and don’t move from field to field.

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