Agricultural contractors around the country must play their part in helping to prevent the spread of the invasive weed velvetleaf, says Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) president Steve Levet.
Mr Levet is reminding contractors about the importance of biosecurity and machinery hygiene practices on, and between farms, in controlling the spread velvetleaf and says rural contractors have an important role to play in this.
“Contractors need to be conscious of the potential of spreading velvetleaf when moving between properties, or between areas of the same property, and to take responsibility in managing these risks,” he says.
Velvetleaf plant seeds can be spread by the movement of vehicles, machinery, feed or stock. It can also spread to new areas of the same property, between neighbouring properties, or even between regions.
Mr Levet says by implementing some simple biosecurity practices rural contractors can help protect the spread of unwanted pest plants such as velvetleaf.
“Farmers and other professional operators in the rural sector like contractors need to pull together to help protect our agricultural sector from the spread of velvetleaf and other pests. I just want to remind rural contractors to stay vigilant and keep up sound biosecurity practices.”
Mr Levet says RCNZ has worked with national pest agencies to produce guidelines for machinery hygiene to prevent the spread of pests and weeds, which includes a hygiene logbook: http://ecan.govt.nz/publications/General/keepitclean.pdf
Tips for contractors
– Before entering a property, check with the landowner for any known pest infestations. Treat any infested areas with extra caution and plan for a thorough decontamination before leaving the infested area.
– Machinery hygiene should be practised whenever a machine is moved between properties.
– For farms with velvetleaf, ideally machinery wash-down should occur on the property before movement off the farm, containing any seed at source and avoiding soil containing viable seed being transported from one farm to another. See alsowww.mpi.govt.nz/alerts
– When cleaning, there should be no remaining visible soil or plant matter
– Keep a logbook to record every time your machinery is cleaned