Bay of Plenty Regional Council biosecurity staff are warning local landowners to check that machinery is clean and stock are empty before allowing them through their gates this Gypsy Day.
Gypsy Day (1 June) is traditionally the first day of the new dairying season when sharemilkers load their cows into stock trucks or herd stock on roads and move equipment and families to new farms.
"Velvetleaf is not just a fodder beet seed issue. Waikato Regional Council have been working to contain a velvetleaf infestation found in Waikato maize crops and silage," said Bay of Plenty Regional Council Biosecurity Manager Greg Corbett.
"Velvetleaf is just one of many pasture weeds we're working hard to keep out of the Bay of Plenty. Along with Noogoora bur and alligator weed, its seeds or plant fragments can easily be carried from one property to another in stock faeces, hooves, fur or soil attached to machinery. It's important that landowners protect their land and livelihoods by being their own border control," he said.
Bay of Plenty farmers can keep invasive pasture weeds off their farms by checking where maize feed, stock or machinery has come from and making sure it's not bringing any unwanted pests with it when it comes onto their farm.
Mr Corbett said that key precautions landowners should take are to ask contractors and new tenants to remove all visible soil and plant matter from their machinery and stock, before they leave their last location.
"Allowing stock to empty out before transport will also reduce the risk of seed being spread through cow dung," said Mr Corbett.
More information about pasture weeds and machinery hygiene is available at www.boprc.govt.nz/pestplants