Pest grass poses risk
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.