Large farm operations and professional spreading companies should be setting examples of best practice, says Waikato Regional Council regional compliance manager Patrick Lynch.
At this time of year stock feed is harvested and sold for use during winter. However, such feed can contain weeds that can be spread along with the feed.
Waikato Regional Council’s pest plants team leader Wendy Mead says farmers can do their bit to help prevent weed spread by asking local feed sellers to guarantee feed such as hay and silage are weed free.
Farmers should also be alert to the risk of weed spread when buying feed from neighbouring regions.
“Some serious crop weeds of very limited distribution in the Waikato, such as Noogoora bur, are known to be more common in some neighbouring regions,” says Mead.
“Don’t be shy asking suppliers about any past weed problems with their feed and if feed can be inspected prior to purchase.
“If feed comes from overseas, only buy from reputable dealers and again ask for a guarantee that it is weed free.
“Keep records of where feed comes from and where it is fed out in case any weeds develop later.”
Mead says the council is happy to provide advice on what to look for during feed inspections and how to deal with any issues or problems that arose.
Farmers can call 0800 BIOSEC (246732) to contact the pest plants team.
Key pest plants that are at risk of spreading through stock feed are Noorgoora Burr, alligator weed, and velvetleaf.