Spread of pests and weeds by heavy machinery posing high risk

The spread of pests and weeds by vehicles, machinery and equipment poses a persistently high risk, with at least 80 pest species known to be typically moved by machinery. 

Small fragments of unwanted vegetation are easily spread by contaminated equipment and excavation machinery.  Transportation of root, stem, seed and crown fragments propagate quickly once introduced and they can heavily impede on pasture and waterways. 

The message from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is clear: machinery hygiene must be practiced any time a machine is moved between properties.  To support this, they offer a set of guidelines and a logbook to prevent the spread of pests and weeds. 

Until now, our Australian neighbours have taken this aspect of preventative pest management more seriously.  For example, Tasmanian agricultural contractors adopt a Code of Practice and use a logbook system for weed hygiene. 

Acting Biosecurity Manager Shane Grayling says “Professional operators in our rural environment generally have a strong sense of environmental stewardship; however, there is room for improvement in taking responsibility for potential effects when moving machinery around the region.”

To view the Bay of Plenty Regional Councils’ guidelines, click here.