Eagle eyes and teamwork have seen the Upper Hunter Weeds Authority take the upper hand in managing incursions of parthenium weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, near Muswellbrook.
Parthenium weed spreads rapidly, is dangerous to grazing animals and reduces crop and land values. Contact with the plant or pollen can cause serious allergic reactions in people.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) invasive species officer, Charlie Mifsud, said vigilant biosecurity officers found six scattered infestations of parthenium weed along Sandy Creek Road and an adjoining road, north-east of Muswellbrook late last month.
"NSW DPI is working with the Upper Hunter Weeds Authority who are treating and removing all parthenium plants, mapping and continuing surveillance in the area," Mr Mifsud said.
"We ask Upper Hunter residents and landholders to be vigilant and contact NSW DPI or the authority if they suspect they have seen any parthenium plants.
"Inspect roadsides and areas with bare soil, where soil or compost have been delivered or where earthworks have taken place.
"Check areas where hay, grain or bird seed has been fed to pets, livestock or chickens.
"We suspect these incursions arrived in hay, fodder, seed or on earthmoving equipment and machinery from Queensland, where the weed covers 18 million hectares in central areas of the state, causing millions of dollars in damage to livestock and cropping industries.
"This latest parthenium detection, following findings near Forbes and Walgett and in the Sydney suburb of Engadine, highlights the importance of being on the lookout for parthenium, which poses the greatest weed threat to NSW."
Mr Mifsud advised people who suspect they have seen parthenium weed to note the location and call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline, 1800 680 244, NSW DPI, Upper Hunter Weeds Authority or Local Land Services for plant identification and assistance.
More information about parthenium weed and how to identify the plant at different growth stages is available from NSW DPI, https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/weeds/partheniumweed; with an online form to record any weed sightings,