Blackgrass is identified in Canterbury

Biosecurity New Zealand early this month was notified of the detection of three black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides) seeds in a 100g sample of ryegrass seed grown in the Ashburton area.

The sample had been submitted for purity and germination testing as part of routine pre-export certification. Samples for analysis of the remainder of the harvest (approximately 14 tonnes) also detected further black-grass seed contamination.

Biosecurity New Zealand consider this find linked to the 2016 Blackgrass response, because the seed in question came from one of the sites under surveillance as part of that response.

Surveillance at that time (2016/17) did not detect any Blackgrass. It is not linked to the 2013 spillage of Blackgrass along the Ashburton-Methven Highway.

Biosecurity New Zealand actions to date:

  • Tracing back to determine the origin of the Blackgrass contamination and if any risk material has moved off farm.
  • Contacted the seed company and confirmed all the affected ryegrass is securely held at the facility;
  • Contacted the property where the seed dressing waste (offal) was delivered, to ensure it is securely held on the property; and
  • Visited the affected property with AsureQuality, where the detection was discussed and it was confirmed that best practice is being followed.
  • Placing a Notice of Direction on the seed and seed offal to ensure unauthorised movement does not occur;
  • Directing seed offal to be destroyed securely by deep burial at the Kate Valley landfill;
  • Working with MPI’s Plant Exports Group to discuss possible conditions of export for the affected seed (to a country which already has black-grass).

The Foundation for Arable Research is advising farmers and growers to keep a lookout for blackgrass.   If it is found or found or suspected, the seed head should not be disturbed.  Instead, a photo should be taken and  the Pest and Disease Hotline called on 0800 80 99 66 to report the suspected find.

Source:  Foundation for Arable Research

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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