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MPI To Work with Farmers On Blackgrass Biosecurity Response

MPI To Work with Farmers On Blackgrass Biosecurity Response

Federated Farmers is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and other stakeholders to ensure that blackgrass is not established in New Zealand, following the news of a potential blackgrass incursion in mid-Canterbury.

“The seed was spilt between Ashburton and a seed dressing plant in the Methven area and is a serious threat to arable farming in New Zealand,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers mid-Canterbury Grains Chairperson.

“We have just one chance to get this right and we commend MPI for identifying and informing us of this restricted weeds presence.

“Federated Farmers is firmly committed to working collaboratively with MPI and the Foundation of Arable Research to mount a credible response.

“This process has already started with the technical staff at the Ministry and FAR urgently gathering information from overseas and local sources and in the coming weeks we will all work together to put a plan in place.

“Blackgrass has proved to be one of the toughest weeds to control on European and UK cropping farms. Without specific management, blackgrass can reduce yields in wheat to beyond the point where it is economic to grow the crop and could also put in jeopardy New Zealand’s lucrative ryegrass seed export business.

“Control options overseas have proved only partially successful and in New Zealand it will mean more chemical use and deeper cultivation. Even then, blackgrass has shown a strong tendency to develop resistance to a number of different chemical families.”

“The good news is that preliminary tests show low viability. This bit of luck has given us a reasonable chance of success,” concluded Mr Clark.

ENDS

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