Pest grass poses risk

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By JA­SON HOW­ELLS Win­tec jour­nal­ism stu­dent

Yel­low bris­tle grass has be­come a sig­nif­i­cant threat to pas­tures in the Waikato re­gion with its abil­ity to rapidly spread through and down­grade clean pas­tures.

A group of Mata­mata farm­ers re­cently at­tended a seminar to dis­cuss the threat of yel­low bris­tle grass in the area and what can be done to stop growth of the weed spread­ing.

Mata­mata farmer and pres­i­dent of Waikato Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Stew Wadey said farm­ers needed to be more proac­tive in iden­ti­fy­ing and spray­ing the weed.

‘‘Yel­low bris­tle grass was brought into the coun­try many years ago and has an abil­ity to grow very well and is not pro­duc­tive as a stock feed,’’ he said. ‘‘It is cur­rently spread­ing through­out North West Waikato and is quite prom­i­nent in the Mata­mata area.’’

Farm­ers can spot yel­low bris­tle grass by its height. It can grow to about 50cm. It has a seed head, which is yel­low, and grows out­wards. It has an in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to sur­vive and leave its nor­mal seed area, it will bully and lit­er­ally crowd out and over­take other pas­tures. There are eight species known in New Zealand.

The her­bi­cide used to man­age the weed, ac­cord­ing to Mr Wadey, is Round-Up (glyphos­phate), though many farm­ers are now re­sort­ing to hand weed­ing.

Yel­low bris­tle

grass

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