Biosecurity

Banned plant found growing in North Shore, Auckland, suburb may have been deliberately introduced

(12 July/The Country) The Himalayan wineberry bramble has been found growing in the North Shore by Unitec environmental and animal sciences Associate Professor Dr Peter de Lange. Professor de Lange describes it as one of the worst weeds in the world and believes it to have been deliberately introduced. He also fears that the weed,...

Vehicle import rules getting even tougher ahead of stink bug season

(10 July/Stuff) As the brown marmorated stink bug season approaches this September, biosecurity rules are becoming tighter in the hope of preventing the bug from entering our country. The rules are with regards to the imports of vehicles, machinery and parts from 33 countries. Imports will have to be fumigated upon arrival. All 33 countries...

M. bovis fears: Ngāi Tahu Farming to pay $211k after walking away from calves deal

(5July/The Country) Ngāi Tahu Farming has been ordered to pay just over $211,000 to Southland farming company, John Young Farming Ltd for the cancellation of a contract. The contract was for 1000 calves over Mycoplasma bovis concerns. The contract, which had been entered into in August 2017, stated Ngāi Tahu Farming had agreed to purchase...

B+LNZ approves M bovis levy

[2 July/Farmers Weekly] Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) have set a biosecurity levy for cattle after consulting with farmers. Of the farmers that provided feedback, 59% supported B+LNZ’s proposals, which included raising the maximum rate for cattle under the new levy from $0.45/head to $2/head, with an initial levy rate of $1.80/head for beef...

Plague warning: Maps reveal extent of ‘mega mast’

[1 July/The Country] Official maps released have revealed the vast swathe of New Zealand wilderness under threat from a plague-fuelling “mega mast”  and officials reported response plans can’t be scaled up. Forest & Bird are warning a nationwide rat plague will only about to get worse, and has appealed to the Government and Councils to...

Rural contractors worried about spreading Mycoplasma bovis

[28 June/Stuff] Rural contractors have expressed fears about the spread of Mycoplasma bovis between farms. The issue came up during a panel discussion on M bovis and biosecurity at the Rural Contractors New Zealand national conference in Nelson. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) admitted farmer privacy issues made the situation challenging for contractors but...

Mycoplasma bovis: MPI pays $90 million in claims

[26 June/The Country] The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has paid 86 per cent of claims totalling $90 million to date in farmer compensation for Mycoplasma bovis. According to the latest figures from MPI more than 102,000 cattle and cows have been culled in the two years since the M. bovis eradication programme was launched....

Bulk milk tests start in July

[21 June/Farmers Weekly] Ongoing national screening for Mycoplasma bovis through bulk tank milk testing will kick into gear at the start of July. The Ministry for Primary Industries states it will be using the Elisa testing method as it is proven to be a much better screening tool than the PCR test. MPI expects ongoing...

Mycoplasma bovis: Movement restrictions more on beef farms

[21 June/The Country] More beef than dairy farms have been placed under movement controls due to Mycoplasma bovis in recent weeks. In an update on 07 June, Biosecurity New Zealand reported that it predicted it would need to issue up to 250 Notices of Direction restricting cattle movements before 01 June. However, it only issued...

The foul-smelling bugs threatening NZ wine

[17 June/Stuff NZ] Tasting notes for New Zealand’s red wines could look very different if brown marmorated stink bugs establish themselves here. New Zealand Winegrowers biosecurity and emergency response manager Ed Massey has reported that stink bugs could cause a loss in production as well as a serious quality issue. Around grape harvest time stink...

Cattle culls don’t rely on tests

[14 June/Farmers Weekly] Herds with cattle bought from properties confirmed as being infected with Mycoplasma bovis will be culled, regardless of test results, Primary Industries Ministry chief science adviser John Roche reports. More efficient testing is in the pipelines but its several years away. As a consequence in the meantime any herds containing cattle from...

Concerns growing in South Taranaki over Yellow Bristle Grass

[02 June/Stuff NZ] South Taranaki District Councillor Clem Coxhead is campaigning to raise awareness of Yellow Bristle Grass in South Taranaki after being alerted from concerned community members. The weed has caused devastation in the Waikato, with an estimated cost to farmers of more than $1100 per hectare in lost production, which could damage the...

As Moving Day looms, nearly 8000 dairy farms yet to re-register for NAIT

[27 May/The Country] Nearly 8000 dairy farms are yet to re-register for the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, with Moving Day being June 1. Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis said OSPRI call centre staff were grappling with significant backlogs, and poor rural broadband was also hindering the process along with a minority...

MPI issues more than 60 M. bovis notices of direction ahead of Gypsy Day

[26 May/Stuff NZ] The number of farms placed under a Notice of Direction Mycoplasma bovis response has soared in the last month as the Ministry of Primary Industries deals with a backlog of cases.  It was reported that this month more than 60 farmers have been issued a Notice of Direction, and, if those farmers...

Many farmers need to update Nait

[17 May/Farmers Weekly] On 6 May, 62,381 livestock farmers were yet to re-register with Nait as part of an upgrade involving an interactive map that uses Land Information data to accurately define Nait locations. Both existing and new Nait users were required to update details by 31 March. Ospri’s Head of Nait Kevin Forward reported...

East Asian harlequin ladybird raises concerns after sightings in Kaitaia

[14 May/The Country] A new variety of ladybug has established itself on our shores and has now been found in Kaitaia. The East Asian harlequin ladybird was first found in 2016 in New Zealand but appears to now be widespread. It does not pose a threat to human health, but can help out the gardeners...

Myrtle rust found on West Coast

[10 May/The Country] Myrtle Rust has been detected on the West Coast for the first time, on a young pohutukawa tree in Greymouth. This is after DOC announced last year that the disease had spread from the North Island to the Tasman region. Myrtle rust attacks myrtle species, including pohutukawa, manuka, kanuka and rata. Pohutukawa...

African swine fever in China will affect NZ dairy sector: report

[10 May/Rural Life] Rabobank have released a report which states that China’s outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) will have an effect on the New Zealand dairy sector. China produces around 50% of pork globally and the ASF epidemic is expected to reduce this amount by 25%-35% which will result in higher demand for alternative...

Moths may be the key to controlling spreading infestations of horehound

[09 May/Stuff NZ] Two species of moth are going to be used to try control the spread of horehound, a weed costing the country millions of dollars a year. Horehound is a member of the mint family and is becoming widespread, particularly in drier regions such as Canterbury, Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa. Crown...

Independent report to focus on Mycoplasma bovis surge

[07 May/The Country] An independent report has been commissioned to look at the causes and effects of the recent Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme surge. The report will also suggest further improvements, with the report being released to farmers. The Ministry for Primary Industries last month announced that there were 300 farms considered high-risk, with around...

Department of Conservation and Northland Regional Council declare war on koi carp and rudd

[30 April/The Country] Both the Department of Conservation and the Northland Regional Council have announced that they will tackle populations of koi carp and rudd and are asking the public to tell them where they are living. Pest fish upset the balance in freshwater systems and affect ecological, cultural and recreational values. Both koi carp...

Northland feijoa crops devastated by fungal disease

[30 April/Stuff NZ] An anthracnose fungal disease has devastated commercial feijoa crops in Northland. The disease causes fruit to fall off trees whilst still small and has wiped out entire crops this season even though a high quality season was predicted due to warm weather. Plant and Food Research scientist Pia Rheinlander stated if it...

Doc urges Hawke’s bay residents to check for myrtle rust in gardens

[24 April/NZ Herald] The Department of Conservation is urging Hawke’s Bay residents to be on the lookout for myrtle rust. Myrtle rust is a fungal disease which has the potential to decimate myrtle species found in New Zealand. The disease generally attacks soft new growth such as shoots, buds and flowers. The pest has the...

Bovis restrictions on more farms

[18 April/Farmers weekly] More farms than usual will be put under restrictions over winter as part of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme.  M bovis Programme Director Geoff Gwyn reported increasing activity in the lead-up to winter stock movements will help control disease spread and give farmers as much certainty as possible heading into the busy...