Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Ragwort bio-control agents working well

16 April, 2014

Ragwort bio-control agents working well

Annual property inspections in the Manawatu have produced positive results for ragwort bio-control agents.

Ragwort senecio jacobaeae is a hardy plant with conspicuous yellow flowers, has the ability to compete with pasture species and contains alkaloids that are toxic to stock. Horizons Regional Council environmental management officer Neil Gallagher says three bio-control agents are currently hard at work in the Region to reduce ragwort spreading between properties.

“Ragwort is capable of producing in excess of 50 000 seeds per plant and while sheep are capable of controlling small plants, its unpalatable to horses, deer and cattle,” he says.

“We have three bio-agents that attack ragwort; the cinnabar moth, ragwort flea beetle and ragwort plume moth. All three of these were present at a recent visit to two Manawatu dairy farms and the landowners considered the bio-control to be at a really good level.”

Kiwitea dairy farmer Wayne Bennett says the bio-agents took a few years to establish themselves but they have been really successful.

“Two years after buying our farm it was nearly completely covered in ragwort. Thanks to the combined efforts of the cinnabar moth, flea beetle and plume moth, ragwort is hardly there now,” says Mr Bennett.

“We’re extremely happy with how well bio-control has worked on our farm as we don’t like to use a lot of spraying to control weeds.”

Mr Gallagher says of particular interest this year is the abundance of cinnabar moth caterpillars.

“These caterpillars were originally imported from England in 1926 and then re-released in the 1980’s. The caterpillars damage ragwort by feeding on leaves and flowers, with the severity of the attack depending on the number of caterpillars as well as working in conjunction with the other two bio-agents,” he says.

“At the two dairy farms visited there were was an abundance of caterpillars and damage seen at both. It was obvious the combined effects of the bio-agents working together were keeping the ragwort at acceptable levels.”

Over the next few months Horizons pest plant staff will continue to monitor sites to assess how the agents are performing and move them to places where they are needed. For more information regarding bio-control agents please contact Neil Gallagher on free phone 0508 800 800.

Bio-control is a technique used worldwide to restore balance between a weed and the environment by recruiting some of its key natural enemies. Pest plants that have been introduced to New Zealand are often not considered a weed in their home country because there are bioagents there to control them. If it can be determined what these agents are then there is hope to restore the balance.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Starts Talks On Tougher Rules For Property Speculators

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is stepping up preparations to restrict lending to residential property investors as it watches house prices, particularly in Auckland, continue to rise strongly. More>>

ALSO:

Research: ‘Ageing Well’ Science Challenge Launched

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today launched the Ageing Well National Science Challenge, confirming initial funding of $14.6 million. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Govt Resisting Pressure To Pump More Cash Into Solid Energy

Prime Minister John Key says it is “not the government’s preferred option” to make a fresh capital injection into the troubled state-owned coal miner, Solid Energy, but dodged journalists’ questions at his weekly press conference on whether that might prove necessary... More>>

ALSO:

Lagest Ever Privacy Breach Award: NZCU Baywide Accepts “Severe” Censure In Cake Case

NZCU Baywide says that once it was found to have committed a breach of a former staff member’s privacy, it had attempted to resolve the matter... the censure and remedies for its actions taken almost three years ago are “severe” but accepted, and will hopefully draw a line under the matter. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: PayPal Stops Processing Mega Payments; NZX Listing Still On

PayPal has ceased processing payments for Mega, the file storage and encryption firm looking to join the New Zealand stock market via a reverse listing of TRS Investments, amid claims it is not a legitimate cloud storage service. More>>

ALSO:

Housing Policy: Auckland Densification As Popular As Ebola, English Says

Finance Minister Bill English said calls by the Reserve Bank Governor for more densification in Auckland’s housing were “about as popular in parts of Auckland as Ebola” would be. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news