The regional council is asking farmers to keep an eye out for Chilean Needle Grass, a noxious grass which can bury into the eyes, skin and muscle of livestock.

The plant is easiest to identify during spring and early summer, due to its distinctive purple seeds, HBRC's senior plant pest advisor Alice McNatty said.

"Early identification and control is important to contain this pest plant which can quickly invade productive land," McNatty said.

The grass is easily spread on contaminated machinery, vehicles, feed and stock.


McNatty said the new biosecurity measures, aimed at stopping the spread of Mycoplasma Bovis, may help with the spread of CHG as well.

"People are required to clean boots and vehicles when moving between infected properties – the same measures should apply where there are pest plants present."

To prevent spread, landowners should only allow clean vehicles and machinery on to their property, and make sure any stock or feed brought onto the farm have not come from an infested property.

There are about 200 properties in Hawke's Bay effected by CHG, covering a total of 600ha Maraekakaho, Bayview, Puketapu, Havelock North, Omakere, Poukawa, Porangahau, Waipawa and Waipukurau.

McNatty said if anyone was concerned they had the plant on their land, they could contact the council, who could do a site visit and offer advice to help with control.

The plant was in the news recently, after former Regional Council Ewan McGregor said the council needed to lift it's game when it came to controlling the pest.

At the time he said he had heard the grass had spread into the Tukituki flood plain, which was concerning as waterways were an easy way for weeds to spread.

Flood waters could pick up the seeds, spreading the grass throughout the region.