Biocontrol battle raging in paddocks

North Canterbury sheep and beef farmer Tom Maxwell hopes a newly-released biocontrol beetle can turn the tide against hard-to-control weed Californian thistle.

He is one of a handful of North Canterbury farmers to have the green thistle beetle (Cassida rubiginosa) released on their properties last spring. First released in 2007, it has already been successfully established in parts of the North Island where it has been observed feeding on Californian thistles, reducing their growth.

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