Help stop the spread of yellow bristle grass

Environment Canterbury is calling for landowners to help stop the spread of yellow bristle grass, an aggressive annual seeding plant which spreads rapidly through pasture, reducing pasture quality.

Principal resource management advisor biosecurity Laurence Smith said they need landowners to help stop the spread in Canterbury.

“To stop yellow bristle grass becoming a major pest in Canterbury, we are asking landowners to please be vigilant and report any suspected sightings to Environment Canterbury as soon as possible.”

“There are currently two known infestations of yellow bristle grass in Canterbury – one in Sefton and the other in Scargill, both bordering railway crossings. It is likely that seeds may have been spread by contaminated machinery working on the crossings,” said Smith.

Yellow bristle grass is already widespread throughout the North Island, where it affects mainly dairy farmers by reducing pasture quality and utilisation in late summer and autumn. Cows don’t willingly eat it, and grazing avoidance leads to seeding and rapid spread and opening for other weeds

The fast spread of yellow bristle grass across the North Island is largely due to contaminated vehicles and machinery, water, soil movements, and as contaminants of hay and maize. Yellow bristle grass seeds can pass through the rumen and be spread in dung.

Yellow Bristle SeedheadHow to identify yellow bristle grass

Yellow bristle grass is currently seeding and therefore easier to identify. The seed head is a cylindrical spike, between 2.5-10cm long, and becomes a golden brown colour once mature.

Leaves are yellow-green in colour and usually red or purple at the base.

Sighted yellow bristle grass?

If you suspect you have found yellow bristle grass, please contact Environment Canterbury immediately on 0800 324 636.

You can prevent the spread of pests like yellow bristle grass by having a farm biosecurity plan in place on your property.

Yellow bristle grass is included in Canterbury’s proposed Regional Pest Management Plan as an ‘eradication’ pest, with the objective of eradicating all infestations from the region over the life of the plan.