Keep alert – invaders are everywhere
No 1: Velvertleaf.
As of Wednesday April 20, Velvetleaf had been confirmed on 196 properties in 11 regions of New Zealand. This number is expected to increase as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) continue to visit properties in Otago and Southland known to have planted the Kyros or Bangor fodder beet varieties.
More and more unwanted problems and pests are invading out lovely country. We need to be alert and make sure caring people like Ducks Unlimited members keep a look out for problems.
Velvetleaf is one of the world’s worst cropping weeds and it is just about everywhere fodder beet has been planted this season.
Velvertleaf is an annual board leafed herb that grows up to 2.5m tall. It has large heart shaped leaves, velverty to the touch. It flowers from spring through to autumn with yellow flowers about 3cm across.
It crows in crops, if you think it might be on your place contact Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) 0800 08 99 66. Advice it not to pull up the plants but contact MPI.
No 2: Honeybees.
Our little helpers are in danger of memory deficits and learning. Even low levels of pesticide can harm the bees. It means they lose the ability to recall odours and worse they lose their odour-learning abilities.
Bees rely on memory to target flowers, but exposure to various sprays appears to be stunting their effectiveness as nectar foragers and pollinators.
Researchers at Otago University tested bees from 51 hives at 17 sites in Otago and tested their pesticide chlorphyrifos levels. Low levels of the pesticide were found in bees at three ofthe sites.
In 2013 the team from Otago’s Department of Chemistry showed chlorpyrifos was detectable in air, water and plant samples, and even in non-sprayed areas as it had a high ability to volatilise and travel great distances.
Most uses of the chemical have been banned in Britain since April 1 this year.
No 3: Blackgrass.
Now there is Blackgrass. It was detected during routine sampling of rye grass seed in Canterbury in February.
It seems to be an isolated incident, but farmers should stay alert and are urged that a thorough investigation should be undertaken to trace all potentially contaminated material.
Blackgrass is an invasive plant that is difficult to contain once it spreads. It competes with winter crops for light, nutrients, space and water, resulting in yield loss and increased cultivation costs that could be potentially devastating to the New Zealand Arable Industry.