The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is an applied research and information transfer organisation responsible primarily to New Zealand arable growers.
The black-grass biosecurity monitoring programme in Canterbury has been suspended due to the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown. MPI spokesperson Tim Ryder says that while biosecurity is an essential service, only work which is critical to the success of a response will be carried out during the lockdown.
Mr Ryder says the black-grass programme has now reached a stage where this pause in activity is unlikely to have a serious impact.
“This is the first growing year when black-grass has not been detected to date and only two properties are requiring intensive surveillance. However, as we do not know when the COVID-19 Alert Level will be lowered, we cannot predict when we will be able to recommence operations.”
MPI are asking members of the farming community to keep an eye out for black-grass if it is able to be done in a safe manner. If you find something suspicious, take a note of the location, use your cell-phone to take a photo, and call the Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
MPI has established a registration system for essential businesses who wish to operate under the Level Four COVID-19 alert. This includes businesses involved in the primary industries. If you wish to register as an essential service, please go to the MPI website (link below) and carefully read the information about who should register and how to go about doing so. If you meet the registration criteria, you must complete an 11 question Safe Practice Registration Form. All essential services, that fit MPI registration criteria, must complete the Safe practice Registration Form by 5.00pm on Friday 27 March 2020.
Once you get to the MPI registration page you will be asked two questions:
- Do you have 5 or fewer people (including the owner) working at each farm business site?
- Can you achieve social distancing measures between staff in your workplace, including travelling, to and from work?
If you answer YES to both of those questions, then you do not need to fill in the Safe Practice Registration Form.
If you answered NO to either of these questions, you MUST complete the Safe Practice Registration Form, which will ask you 11 critical questions about how you intend to stop any spread of COVID-19.
If in doubt, fill in the form.
FAR asks that all arable farmers support this initiative for the good of the whole industry.