Biosecurity specialists are successfully managing a 65-hectare parthenium weed infestation near Croppa Creek after an observant agronomist found the weeds hidden in a sorghum crop and reported it late last year.
Farmer Lyndon Mulligan contacted Gwydir Shire Council and is now working as part of the team, led by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), which has treated thousands of parthenium weed plants found on the farm with herbicide.
“We have never had parthenium weed on the property and we are all fortunate that parthenium weed is taken seriously in NSW,” Mr Mulligan said.
“As farmers managing this outbreak, we appreciate the specialist support from NSW DPI, Local Land Services, Gwydir Shire Council and Moree Plains Shire Council.
“Parthenium can only be successfully managed and kept out of NSW through the continued cooperation, support and hard work of government and the community.”
NSW DPI State Priority Weeds coordinator, Nicola Dixon, said the source of the infestation could be equipment used to harvest a forage sorghum crop in May 2021.
“The harvest contractor had previously worked in Central Queensland – an area well-known to have widespread parthenium weed infestations,” Ms Dixon said.
“It’s a reminder to ensure machinery and vehicles which have been in Queensland are cleaned before they are permitted to enter their property.”
Mr Mulligan said the machinery appeared clean during a general inspection.
“In future I will ask more questions before machinery enters the farm and find what checks have been undertaken on equipment from Queensland at the NSW border,” he said.
Growers are urged to ensure equipment from Queensland is free from all plant material, dust, soil and accumulated grease or has been treated with a seed sterilant before entering NSW.
Operators of all machinery, not just grain harvesters, have a legal duty to prevent their equipment from spreading parthenium weed into NSW, which is covered by the General Biosecurity Duty under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.
The infestation at Croppa Creek is the second found in the area and the 42nd parthenium weed incursion detected in NSW since April 2020, following increased movement of hay and grain into NSW from Queensland during drought.
Incursions of the weed have been traced to hay, grain, vehicles and machinery brought into NSW from Queensland.
NSW has benefited from the program to keep the state parthenium-free since 1982 as NSW DPI continues to coordinate statewide surveillance of known high-risk areas in collaboration with local councils, weed control authorities and LLS.
People who suspect they have seen parthenium weed can call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline, 1800 680 244, or local council for identification and assistance.
Parthenium weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, spreads rapidly, is dangerous to grazing animals, can host crop viruses and reduces land values. Contact with the plant or pollen can cause serious allergic reactions in people.