Com­ing up Poul­try Shows for 2015 HOW NZ IS TRY­ING TO BEAT ONE OF THE WORLD’S WORST WEEDS

Check k out the hb best t poul­try in New Zealand in the 2015 poul­try shows na­tion­wide, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Poul­try Show in Oa­maru this month.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Notice Board - July 4-5 Auck­land Poul­try & Pi­geon Club, Kumeu Show­grounds July 11-12 Waikato Poul­try & Pi­geon Club, Hamil­ton July 3-4 Wai­mate Poul­try Club, Wai­mate July 10-11 Marl­bor­ough Poul­try, Pi­geon & Cage Bird Assn, Blenheim July 11-12 In­ver­cargill Poul­try & Pi­geon

In a world first, New Zealand is us­ing a Peru­vian plant dis­ease in an at­tempt to con­trol lan­tana, con­sid­ered one of the world’s 10 worst weeds.

Lan­tana is pri­mar­ily a prob­lem in North­land, but its ter­ri­ble rep­u­ta­tion has seen Land­care Re­search sci­en­tists be­gin the search for bio­con­trols be­fore it be­comes wide­spread. Their work has found path­o­genic fungi stand the best chance of fight­ing the weed in New Zealand as in­sects used as bio­con­trol agents against lan­tana in Aus­tralia are un­likely to cope with New Zealand con­di­tions.

The weed poses a se­ri­ous threat to NZ’S agri­cul­tural in­dus­try says Land­care Re­search sci­en­tist Maj Padamsee, as once es­tab­lished it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to con­trol and can easily over­run farm­land.

“Lan­tana has the po­ten­tial to be­come ex­tremely prob­lem­atic. These re­leases are pre-emp­tive to make sure it doesn’t get to that point. We’re try­ing to nip lan­tana in the bud.

“It’s the first time the lan­tana blis­ter rust has been used as a bio­con­trol any­where in the world, which makes this re­lease re­ally ex­cit­ing.”

Lan­tana blis­ter rust at­tacks the stems, leaf stalks and leaves and the dam­age it causes can re­sult in sys­temic in­fec­tion lead­ing to stem dieback.

Host tests for the plant dis­ease were ini­tially con­ducted to see if it was a suit­able bio­con­trol to use in Aus­tralia, where the weed is a ma­jor prob­lem. Tests were car­ried out by a Uk-based, not-for-profit sci­en­tific re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion. While more test­ing is re­quired to de­ter­mine if the dis­ease is safe to re­lease in Aus­tralia, tests came back giv­ing it the ok for New Zealand.

Land­care im­ported lan­tana in­fected with the dis­ease in spring last year and be­gan mass-rear­ing it for re­lease.

To fur­ther as­sist the war on the weed, another plant dis­ease has also re­cently been re­leased in the Bay of Plenty and North­land. The Brazil­ian plant dis­ease, called lan­tana leaf rust ( Prospodium tu­ber­cu­la­tum) af­fects the weed’s leaves.

Both plant dis­eases can co-ex­ist on lan­tana and are ex­pected to com­ple­ment each other by hav­ing slightly dif­fer­ent cli­matic re­quire­ments, with the blis­ter rust most likely to pre­fer tem­per­a­tures in North­land and not do so well in the Bay of Plenty, and the op­po­site for the leaf rust.

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