The source of the infestation has been traced to contaminated wholegrain organic chicken feed.
The source of the infestation has been traced to contaminated wholegrain organic chicken feed.

‘Devastating’ weed found in Coffs region for the first time

A DANGEROUS weed has been discovered in the Coffs Coast region for the first time.

Efforts are underway to eradicate the infestation of Parthenium weed after a call was made to the NSW Department of Primary Industries Biosecurity Helpline.

The rapidly-spreading weed, which was found at a Nambucca Valley property, can cause serious allergic reactions in people.

It is also dangerous to grazing animals and reduces crop and land values.

NSW DPI State Priority Weeds co-ordinator, Charles Mifsud, said Nambucca Valley Council and Bellingen Shire Council weeds officers are working with the landholder to eradicate and prevent further spread of the weed.

“We can confirm that 21 parthenium weed infestations have been identified and managed in NSW since April 1 this year, as the united efforts of the community and government agencies continue to keep the devastating weed in check,” Mr Mifsud said.

According to Mr Mifsud the Nambucca Valley infestation has been traced to the same source – contaminated wholegrain organic chicken feed – as parthenium found at Engadine in Sydney and Ravensdale on the Central Coast.

Parthenium weed. Photo: Bob Trounce
Parthenium weed. Photo: Bob Trounce

Locals are being urged to be on the lookout for the weed.

“Check areas where hay, grain or seed has been fed to pets, livestock or chickens,” Mr Mifsud said.

“Inspect roadsides and areas with bare soil, where soil or compost have been delivered or where earthworks have taken place, although the flowering window for the weed in cooler areas has closed and ageing plants are less recognisable during winter.”

A program has aimed to keep the state parthenium-free since 1982, with greatest number of parthenium infestations found and managed this year.

Parthenium infestations found in Engadine, Muswellbrook and Ravensdale and the Nambucca Valley this year were the first recorded findings of parthenium east of the Great Dividing Range.

People who suspect they have seen parthenium weed can call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline, 1800 680 244 or their local council for plant identification and assistance.



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