9 Feb 2009

Clover root weevil found in Otago

1:40 pm on 9 February 2009

An invasive pasture pest, the clover root weevil, has been found in Otago.

The insect attacks the nodes of the clover and hampers growth as well as the plant's ability to fix nitrogen, and can cost farmers millions of dollars in lost pasture production each year.

An Agresearch says a low-density insect population was recently discovered at a sheep farm near Clinton.

Entomologist Colin Ferguson says it's the furthest south the weevil has been found since it was first detected in Waikato more than a decade ago.

Although its spread was inevitable, it's still disappointing to see it arrive in Otago.

Mr Ferguson saysit is bound to be more widespread than just one farm and it's likely there will be larger populations elsewhere in the area.