Waikato Regional Council says that good ‘moving day’ planning key to preventing pest plant spread and managing effluent.
Farmers are being urged to do their bit to protect farms from damaging pest plants by ensuring machinery, vehicles and equipment have been cleaned ahead of Moving Day.
Planning is also necessary when it comes to preventing effluent entering waterways and keeping roads clear and safe for road users in the region, says Waikato Regional Council.
Moving Day occurs in the week leading up to and immediately following 1 June each year. It involves the mass transporting of cows and machinery around the country’s roads as farm contractors relocate themselves and their stock in time for the new season.
“Through good on farm biosecurity practices, farmers and contractors can make a massive difference to preventing the spread of pest plants and weeds,” said regional council biosecurity pest plants team leader, Darion Embling.
“Unclean machinery is a confirmed pathway for the spread of infestations, such as velvetleaf and alligator weed, between some farms in our region. That makes machinery hygiene especially important with Moving Day coming up and the mass movement of stock, machines and vehicles between farms.”
Mr Embling said machinery hygiene must be practiced any time a machine is moved between properties.
“Any form of plant or soil contamination has a real potential for harbouring pests or weeds. Machinery should be cleaned so no visible soil or plant matter remains.”
Ideally, machinery wash-down should occur on the property prior to movement, containing any problems at the source. Alternatively, machinery may be cleaned in a built-for-purpose wash-down facility, but care should be taken to ensure there is not a risk of pest spread during transport to that facility.
“Pest plants such as alligator weed and velvetleaf can have a massive impact on the productivity and profitability of farm businesses, so farmers and contractors need to be extra vigilant when moving between properties,” Mr Embling said.
More information is available at waikatoregion.govt.nz/biosecurity.
Farmers are also reminded to stand stock off green feed before they’re walked or transported to prevent effluent entering waterways and help keep the region’s roads clear of discharge and safe for users.
A cow’s daily combined effluent is approximately 52 litres, and a truck effluent tank’s capacity is just 200 litres. It means the spillage of effluent onto roads is a real risk unless farmers in particular take some simple steps ahead of time.
The regional council recommends that farmers:
- confirm stock pick-up times in advance of transport to eliminate confusion
- move stock close to the loading ramp the day before, when possible
- stand stock off green feed for a minimum of four hours (with water)
- use dry feed before transport because it results in less effluent.