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Home > Latest News > Media Releases > Media Releases 2014 > March 2014 > Clean machines to prevent pest spread

Clean machines to prevent pest spread

Friday, 21 March 2014 10:48 a.m.

With harvesting, earthworks and property maintenance underway, Bay of Plenty farmers and horticulturalists are being reminded to keep pests off their properties by checking that visiting machinery is clean.

“It’s cheaper and easier for a farmer to keep pests off their property, than it is to control them once they’ve arrived,” Regional Council Senior Biosecurity Officer Shane Grayling said.

“Before bringing machinery onto their land, property owners should be asking where it was last used and check that it’s not carrying any soil or plant material. Even if the machine belongs to a neighbour or contractor they trust, it doesn’t hurt to take extra care and check,” said Mr Grayling. 

“Pest plants can easily take hold in disturbed earth after ‘hitching a ride’ to properties on rural machinery such as harvesters and diggers. At least 80 pest species, such as alligator weed and noogoora bur, are known to be typically spread by machinery. Pests can also be transferred through stock movement, feed and gravel.”

“The kiwifruit industry has had to adopt strict decontamination procedures and machinery movement controls since the Psa outbreak. Other farmers and growers can get ahead of the game and help protect their livelihoods by adopting good machine hygiene practices now, so that the spread of any new pests or diseases is minimised,” Mr Grayling said.

New rural machine hygiene guidelines were released by National Pest Control Agencies in collaboration with Federated Farmers, Rural Contractors New Zealand, Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries, late last year.

Mr Grayling said that the eight page booklet, called Keep it Clean, contains clear, practical advice for land owners and contractors and a handy logbook for machinery operators.

“Ministry for Primary Industries is working hard to defend our international borders and Regional Council staff do their best to identify and eradicate any new pests to the region.”

“We can’t do it alone though – everyone needs to be on the look-out and stop the spread of unwanted invaders that have managed to slip through border controls or become established in other parts of the country,” Mr Grayling said.

  • Copies of the Keep it Clean guidelines are available from or by contacting a Regional Council Land Management Officer, phone 0800 884 880.
  • For information about identifying and control plant and animal pests, visit  or contact a Regional Council Land Management Officer on 0800 884 880.
  • If you find any unusual or suspicious insects, plants or other organisms, report them to the Ministry for Primary Industries’ exotic pests and diseases hotline , phone 0800 80 99 66.



Click on images below for higher resolution versions


Alligator weed in crops

Photo caption: Unclean machinery could introduce alligator weed into your crop field. (JPG, 1.42MB)


Noogoora bur

Photo caption: Small seed pods from Noogoora bur can easily hitch a ride on a harvester.

Credit: Darion Embling, Waikato Regional Council (JPG, 3.79MB)



Alligator weed in crops