MIL-OSI Australia: Parkes parthenium posse lets loose the springer spaniel

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Source: New South Wales Department of Primary Industries

2 Dec 2021

NSW state and local government biosecurity specialists today worked with scent detection dog, Connor, to search for the invasive parthenium weed at two infestation sites near Parkes.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) State Priority Weeds coordinator, Jill O’Grady, said detection dogs play an important role in sniffing out newly germinated weeds, which are difficult to find in dense undergrowth.

“Following treatment of the sites in May 2020 and March 2021, we’ve now returned with Connor, who has proven ability to find very small seedlings,” Ms O’Grady said.

“Connor and his handler were contracted through the NSW Government Weeds Action Program, which NSW DPI administers, by Central West Local Land Services (LLS).

“Working with Parkes Shire Council weeds biosecurity officer, Kane Davison, Central West LLS regional weeds coordinator, Jodie Lawler, and Forestry Corporation of NSW we’re conducting ongoing surveillance and weed management.

“We aim to find every last plant and eradicate parthenium weed.”

Known infestation sites are monitored for up to five years to ensure the seed bank is exhausted and parthenium weed is eradicated.

Detected in May 2020, the Parkes incursion was linked to contaminated harvesting and planting machinery from Queensland and more than 500 mature parthenium plants were removed and treated during the initial response.

NSW DPI led a team of NSW Government agencies and 13 local councils in March this year and searched for plants in an area of 1000 hectares.

Ms O’Grady congratulated the community for keeping local councils and NSW DPI informed and asked residents and landholders to continue to be vigilant.

“Please contact the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline, 1800 680 244 or your local council for plant identification and assistance if you see any plants you suspect may be parthenium weed,” she said.

Parthenium weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, 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.

Statewide surveillance of known high-risk areas and eradication of parthenium weed, is continuing to keep NSW free of the weed.

NSW DPI’s successful parthenium eradication program has benefited the state since 1982. 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

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