Waikato Regional Council is asking farmers to keep a sharp eye out for Chilean needle grass seeds. The drought loving Chilean Needle Grass has a needle sharp tip and a tail mechanism that drills through fleece and into muscle making contaminated fleeces virtually worthless and animal carcasses downgraded due to the additional trimming required to remove damaged meat. Pest plants team leader Darion Embling says while not in the Waikato yet, Chilean needle grass seeds can easily hitch a ride from other regions by screwing into clothing and stock pelts, skin and flesh, on equipment and machinery, and even in gravel or fodder. He says if it establishes in the Waikato, it would put over half a million hectares of sheep and beef farming at risk. Currently this nasty pest is found in Hawke’s Bay Marlborough and Canterbury.
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