Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I can't see a problem with this at all.....

Do people actually think? Do they actually consider what might result from their actions and decisions? Check this out:

New grass acts as bird repellent
05 Jul, 2011 04:00 AM
A GRASS that deters birdlife is poised to find major success throughout the world, particularly with airports.
The avian deterrent grass, created by New Zealand company Grasslanz Technology Limited, is being commercialised by PGG Wrightson Turf.

It recently won the Australasian DuPont Innovation Award for Performance Materials, which recognises the commercialisation of outstanding science and technology in Australasia.

The grass will be marketed under the brand name Avanex and developed by AgResearch.

The secret behind the grass’ bird deterrent ability is a natural fungus (endophyte) that lives in the grass and produces chemicals that make birds feel sick when ingested, but does not harm them.

The endophytic grass also reduces insect numbers, thus making the area less attractive to insect-feeding birds. The birds are deterred from flocking in grassed areas.

It has been effective in reducing bird numbers at several New Zealand airports thus minimising the risk of bird collisions with aircraft.

It has a potential for use in airports around the world, as well as orchards, sports fields and golf courses, in temperate environments.

In accepting the award on behalf of Grasslanz Technology, business development manager for the Southern Hemisphere Bruce Belgrave, said it was important to acknowledge that this innovation has been the result of a team effort involving Dr Chris Pennell, inventor and scientist with AgResearch Limited, as the inspiration behind the innovation; Christchurch International Airport, which invested in the development and allowed the first trials of the innovation on an airport; PGG Wrightson Seeds; and foundation for Arable Research, which also invested in its development.

Cameron Henley, business manager for PGG Wrightson Turf said the product held significant safety benefits for airports and sports facilities worldwide.

“We are proud to be a part of the development of this exciting technology and to bring Avanex to the market,” he said.

PGG Wrightson Turf is an industry leader in the Australasian turf seed market.

“These products have a natural fit in habitat modification surrounding airfields where they discourage both plant feeding birds and insect feeding birds, however they also work extremely well in sporting fields and golf courses, deterring a wide range of potentially damaging grass eating insects,” Mr Henley said.

The grasses that carry these endophytic properties are ideally suited to large areas of Australia, particularly the cooler temperate regions where perennial ryegrass and tall fescue is found.

I agree that birds around airports is an issue but given that this grass is "suited to large areas of Australia, particularly the cooler temperate regions" has anyone considered what would happen if this grass were to get loose in our grassland areas? Dunno 'bout you but it scares the shit out of me.


Ross said...

Have we not learned from the other "introduced" species what happens when they go feral???

MIke Nixon said...

yes, the scientist would like to sell it to golf courses etc etc ,anyone who has a "problem" with insects and birds .ie grass is a problem when it doesn't behave like concrete .I dont think it should be allowed ,the potential for vast swarfs of biologically dead grass is massive.Surely we have other biological "organic sprays" or biologically either neutral or positive to the environment , bird deterents ?

Spottedquoll said...

Thanks for that, Mike. sorry it's taken me so long to publish your comment, I've been off on holidays round this great brown (well green at the moment) land of ours.

BrandoNZ said...


The endophyte in the Avanex range is a naturally occuring fungi. For years endophyte like this was removed from "wild" type grasses as it caused sheep staggers and other livestock health issues. It was re-introduced when it was discovered to have avian deterrent qualities. Its like if you go to an indian restaurant and get the squirts, you dont go there again. This is the effect Avanex has on birds. Its quite safe to bird-life, and has huge benefits to the aviation industry with birdstrike being the main concern.

Spottedquoll said...

But how many other grasses will this spread to? Is it specific to one type of grass or will it infect all? And what impact will it have on birds reliant on grass seed, particularly the finches, firetails etc?

With an Indian curry I have a choice (BTW I love my curries, the hotter the better), grass seed eating birds don't and some of them are already endangered.