The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is working with Federated Farmers, Foundation for Arable Research and Environment Canterbury Regional Council (ECAN) to address any biosecurity threat from a potential incursion of black grass in Canterbury.
The response is due to the spillage of some grass seed along the State Highway 77. The seed was being transported between Ashburton and a seed dressing plant in Methven.
There is a possibility that the spilt seed contained a very small amount of viable black grass seed – a pest plant that is not found in New Zealand, says MPI Response Manager David Yard.
Black grass, also known as slender meadow fox tail, is an invasive plant that affects winter crops in Europe, including winter wheat, grass seed, rapeseed, forage legumes and barley.
“There is only a low chance that black grass will establish from the spill, but it is important to mitigate any biosecurity risk, which is why we will be paying close attention to the area and are looking at range of control options,” says Mr Yard.
Further information on how to identify black grass is available on the MPI internet. (PDF)