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Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil is us­ing a new method to de­tect and de­stroy pest weed, Velvetleaf. Sev­enyear-old bor­der col­lie cross Rusty, and owner John Taylor, to­gether can sniff out and iden­tify the weed. The team is from In­ver­cargill where they have been de­tect­ing the in­va­sive pest plant af­ter it was found in fod­der­beet crops in April last year. Rusty is the only dog in New Zealand spe­cially trained to sniff out the weed. Rusty and Taylor, via the re­gional coun­cil, have vis­ited at least three farms a day, each week, in the Waikato, start­ing Fe­bru­ary 27 that were sus­pected of car­ry­ing low num­bers of velvetleaf.

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