No sign of black-grass

Media contact: MPI Mediaphone
Telephone: 029 894 0328

There is no sign of black-grass in mid Canterbury following three rounds of surveillance, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI contractors are undertaking surveillance between Methven and Ashburton in response to the spillage of red fescue seed believed to be contaminated with black-grass along the route.

So far, three rounds of surveillance have been completed.  A further six rounds are scheduled to take place in the next five months.

In addition to the surveillance, contractors have applied selective herbicide to areas thought to be high-risk for black-grass establishment, says David Yard, MPI Response Manager.

A second round of treatment is set for March next year, says Mr Yard.

“It’s all going very well, but we’re not out of the woods yet. We’ve got another two and a half years of surveillance and treatment before we can start calling the response a success or not.”

Black-grass is a serious invasive weed of winter crops in the UK and Europe where it has developed resistance to many herbicides.

The government and industry are working together to ensure the pest does not establish in New Zealand.

MPI is leading the response. It is supported by Federated Farmers, the Foundation for Arable Research, Canterbury Regional Council (ECan), Ashburton District Council, New Zealand Grain & Seed Trade Association and PGG Wrightson.

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