The states of New South Wales and Victoria are famous for their fields of canola (also known as rape), a crop with bright yellow flowers that form a surreal sweep of yellow against a blue sky.
The towns of Cowra, Temora and Coolamon in New South Wales, as well as Lexton, Ballarat, Shepparton and Beaufort in Victoria, are famous for their proximity to the bright butter-yellow meadows.
Destination NSW has even capitalised on the trend for a “golden field” selfie, encouraging tourists in a recent campaign to “Get your insta shot”.
But one farmer says the social media users have become a pest, with one duo “basically refusing to leave” after he confronted them.
Tony Flanery, a wheat and canola farmer from Galong, said that farmers feared camera-wielding tourists spreading diseases among their crops and livestock.
“There’s a real fear about foot and mouth disease, and what quarantine people have been through and where they’ve come from,” Mr Flanery told the Guardian.
“It’s something that poses a very real risk to us now, particularly,” Flanery said.
He added that visitors often park in “dangerous positions” on the road, and that one encounter with a determined Instagram couple left him “flabbergasted”.
He told reporters he found a couple “literally two kilometres” from the road, deep inside one of his canola fields.
“They basically refused to leave. Like they had the camera set up on a tripod and were settling in for the afternoon.”
Another farmer said: “It’s equivalent to someone jumping into your front yard in Sydney to take a photograph with your flowers. That’s my yard – get out.”
Meanwhile, local Tim Condon added that he’d narrowly avoided a collision after driving down a country road in near Harden–Murrumburrah, NSW to find two families’ cars parked across the width of the road as they photographed the fields.
“Luckily I was in a Prado and had the wits about me so I could stop in time,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Condon, who works in the agriculture industry, added: “There has been a promotion in Canberra to go do the canola drive, and people are just randomly driving out to a farm, pull up and wander through a crop.”
“They’re straight up a biosecurity risk in the current environment, so that’s a concern for growers.”
Mr Flanery said he had heard from one Boorowa farmer that tourists had cut his fence in order to drive into one of his canola fields.