skip to main content skip to main menu

News & Events
~ Ngā pānui


Rusty the Velvetleaf Hunter

Rusty is a trained Velvetleaf tracker dog and on Tuesday (20 Feb) Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Biosecurity team used him to hunt out this pest plant in known infested paddocks.

Rusty was trained by owner John Taylor specifically to track down this pest plant and they have being working recently in Waikato, Auckland and Bay of Plenty, and did a day’s tracking in Hawke’s Bay before going to the Manawatu.  Hawke’s Bay Regional Council had Rusty check out previously affected or high risk paddocks in Pakipaki, Nuhaka and Tūtira to seek out new seedlings. 

At a paddock in Pakipaki, Rusty ran across the ground and would stop when he found a plant.  He quickly found six plants - one plant was so small that the HBRC Biosecurity staff said they would not have seen it.  

Without Rusty’s keen nose identifying the scent of the plant, HBRC staff would need to spend a lot more time walking or slowly riding a motorcycle over large areas of paddock in the hope of finding plants.

The pest plant came to New Zealand in a shipment of fodderbeet seed in 2015, and appeared only after the crop was sown.  Velvetleaf can grow to 2 metres high and produce a lot of seed that can be viable for up to 60 years. The plant can compete with planted crops reducing the yield.  The agriculture sector does not want this plant to spread.

HBRC staff recorded each plant found using GPS for future monitoring and grubbed them out.  One plant found today was already flowering.

Photo: Rusty tracked the Velvetleaf plant he's sitting next to.

Rusty found the Velvetleaf plant that hes sitting next to4. 2

22 February 2018

Back to Latest News

690 page views for the last 30 days

Share this page
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn Share by Email

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Hawke's Bay Regional Council - / +64 6 835 9200 / Fax: +64 6 835 3601

Website feedback

We're improving our website, and we want your feedback to help us make it better - easier to use, more interesting, more relevant. We have a few questions that'll take you about two minutes to whizz through.

Give feedback