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Update On Chilean Needle Grass Post Spraying

September 4, 2012

MEDIA STATEMENT

Update On Chilean Needle Grass Post Spraying

Environment Canterbury has just completed aerial control of Chilean Needle Grass on the most densely affected North Canterbury properties.

Taskforce herbicide (active ingredient flupropanate) was applied to approximately 150 hectares of land on three properties. Taskforce is a slow acting root absorbed herbicide that is reputed to specifically control Chilean Needle Grass while leaving most other plant species relatively unscathed when it is applied at label rates.

Environment Canterbury Principal Biosecurity Advisor Laurence Smith says Amuri Helicopters applied the herbicide and were extremely professional in their approach of the first application of Taskforce from the air in Canterbury.

“Conditions were perfect for aerial application with calm weather conditions and drier ground conditions than previous weeks when heavy rains made spraying impossible.

“Extreme care was taken to ensure no herbicide entered water during the operation and extra precautions were taken by adding an anti-drift agent to the spray mix.

“Some small dense infestations where Taskforce was unable to be applied due to environmental precautions at Spotswood will be ground treated within the next few weeks,” he says.

Remaining isolated infestations will be treated in November when Chilean Needle Grass is visible. A residual herbicide, Taskforce may provide up to 5 years of control.

Environment Canterbury is planning other components of this seasons Chilean Needle Grass programme in conjunction with the Chilean Needle Grass Committee which will meet next on the 12th of September 2012.

“It is important to have community involvement when considering the public awareness programme for Chilean Needle Grass and so that stakeholders have a say in the future management of this pest,” says Mr Smith.

In the meantime Environment Canterbury will continue with the programme around containment protocols at existing sites, surveillance and searching.

Chilean Needle Grass infests approximately 280 hectares of land in North Canterbury over nine properties near Cheviot. Chilean Needle Grass is capable of invading much of Canterbury’s dry hill country and threatens sheep farming viability with its sharp needle like seed head causing wool, meat and pelt damage as well as animal welfare issues.

ENDS

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