Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Weather or weevils? It pays to check


Weather or weevils? It pays to check

Is it the weather or is it weevils? That’s the question farmers should be asking if poor pasture growth is threatening on-farm productivity.

Clover root weevil is being reported across the country and especially in the Lower South Island where its prevalence is particularly high this summer. Nodules on clover roots fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and provide a 'free' form of nitrogen fertiliser. Weevils feeding on them disturb the nitrogen fixing with subsequent damage to foliage and pasture quality.

“Many farmers may be putting slower pasture or animal growth rates down to lack of sunshine and overcast weather given the mixed summer we have had. However clover root weevil may also be an issue on their properties and is often a hidden cause of poor pasture productivity,” says Ballance Agri-Nutrients Research and Development Manager Warwick Catto.

A U-shaped notching in clover leaves signals infestation and spells trouble. This is especially so with the loss of clover significantly reducing potential lamb growth rates.

“Dairy farmers have also reported substantial loss of productivity due to clover root weevil. An infestation can reduce nitrogen fixation by clover by 50% to 100%. Currently in the Lower South Island famers have reported up to 100% knockout of clover due to infestation.”

Applying nitrogen fertiliser can compensate for weevil damage, though Mr Catto says the amount needed will vary with soil type, fertility and climate.

“Small and frequent applications of nitrogen fertiliser applied year round will assist to improve clover growth and plant survival compensating for the loss of normal nitrogen supply that would come from the plants own nodules.

Mr Catto cautions that while the nitrogen applications will go some way to minimising the impact on productivity, it will not eliminate the pest or its impact.

“Farmers should talk to their fertiliser consultant to get the best plan of attack for their particular farm and conditions.”

A biocontrol has been released by AgResearch in the form of a tiny parasitic wasp first released in 2006. AgResearch is monitoring the spread of the weevil in the South Island and making additional releases of the biocontrol agent as required.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

R18: The Warehouse Group Praised For Removing Games

The decision by New Zealand’s largest retailer The Warehouse Group (TW Group), to withdraw stocks of the latest version of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) and other R18 games, has been praised by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Air NZ Wine Awards: Victory For Villa Maria As Pinot Noir Thrills

It was a night to remember as Villa Maria Estate picked up one of the highest accolades of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, at the 28th Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough ... More>>

ALSO:

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news