27 Jan 2009

Council makes progress in eliminating pest plant

1:25 pm on 27 January 2009

Canterbury's regional council believes it has won its first battle with an invasive grass species by eliminating all traces of it at the only known infested site, a property north of Cheviot.

Chilean Needle Grass produces sharp cork-screw shaped seedheads which attach themselves to passing animals by burrowing into their skin, resulting in damaged hides and downgraded carcasses.

Last year the regional council announced it had put aside $95,000 to be spent over three years to eradicate it from the region.

Northern biosecurity team leader Laurence Smith said officers have taken measures to reduce the risk of the plant spreading from the site near Cheviot, including cleaning and inspecting machinery used to remove the weeds.

The council is urging any members of the public to report any sightings of the plant elsewhere in the region, so that it can be removed promptly.

It is also recommending landholders and contractors help prevent the pest plant's introduction from Marlborough by not bringing in contaminated hay, stock or machinery from infested areas.

The council will host a public information meeting about Chilean Needle Grass at the end of next month at the Cheviot School Hall.