Re­stric­tions fight nee­dle grass pest

CHB Mail - - FARM FO­CUS -

To pre­vent the spread of Chilean nee­dle grass, soil, silt and gravel can no longer be re­moved from the Tuk­i­tuki River with­out au­tho­ri­sa­tion from Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil.

“We sur­veyed be­tween the Waipawa and Tuk­i­tuki con­flu­ence and the Tuk­i­tuki river mouth this summer and found Chilean nee­dle grass through­out the area. Be­cause it’s such a harm­ful pest, we need help from the pub­lic to make sure we pre­vent it from spread­ing,” says re­gional coun­cil se­nior biose­cu­rity ad­viser Alice McNatty.

“Chilean nee­dle grass is a pest plant in the Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil pest man­age­ment plan and can have a se­vere im­pact on farm pro­duc­tion and an­i­mal wel­fare. The seed is sharp, and spreads by at­tach­ing it­self to any­thing that brushes past the plant. An­i­mals, peo­ple, ve­hi­cles, ma­chin­ery and equip­ment, soil, silt, gravel and con­tam­i­nated feed can all move Chilean nee­dle grass seed,” adds Alice.

Re­gional coun­cil schemes team leader Ant Rew­cas­tle says strict con­di­tions now ap­ply to the au­tho­rised move­ment and track­ing of soil, silt or gravel from this area.

“Con­sented gravel ex­trac­tion will con­tinue un­der strict con­di­tions, in­clud­ing, clean­ing ma­chin­ery, no­ti­fy­ing and record­ing re­cip­i­ents, and lim­it­ing use to ac­tiv­i­ties that min­imise the spread, such as con­crete or foun­da­tion ma­te­rial,” says Ant.

Alice ad­vises, “Care should be taken when vis­it­ing the Tuk­i­tuki River dur­ing the seed­ing time of Chilean nee­dle grass, be­tween late Oc­to­ber and Fe­bru­ary. Al­though the re­gional coun­cil and land own­ers un­der­take con­trol of Chilean nee­dle grass dur­ing this time, it’s im­por­tant to check cloth­ing, footwear, ve­hi­cles, dogs and horses to en­sure no seed has at­tached that could be taken back to your prop­erty.”

If you sus­pect you have Chilean nee­dle grass on your prop­erty, con­tact Alice McNatty on 06 833 8083 for ad­vice

Chilean nee­dle grass.

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