As we continue to experience a wet and warm summer in the Parkes Shire, landholders are being advised to be on the lookout for any new or unusual plants they may see growing on their property or roadside.

Parkes Shire Council’s Director Infrastructure, Andrew Francis said, “The movement of grain and hay between regions has the potential to spread problem weeds and with the rain we've experienced over the spring and summer months, has made conditions favourable for the mass germination of potentially destructive weeds.

“Livestock feed can contain numerous weed seeds. As drought conditions worsened in 2019, stockfeed was being transported long distances across the state and even across the country to feed livestock.

“This poses a significant threat to agricultural production and biosecurity within the Parkes Shire and has potential negative impacts for both cropping and pasture enterprises. We are asking primary producers to be proactive and take measures to ensure any potential serious weed incursions are identified and reported to Council as soon as possible," said Mr Francis.

Council are encouraging landholders to keep an eye out for weed seedlings where they have had grain or hay, especially after rain. Monitoring these areas needs to continue throughout the growing season and after any new feeding or rain events.

In May 2020, Parthenium Weed (Parthenium hysterophorus) was found growing on a property within the Parkes Shire, with a handful of plants found germinating on adjoining roadsides. Parthenium Weed is a particularly serious weed that affects human and livestock health and negatively impacts numerous agricultural practices. It is declared as Prohibited Matter under NSW legislation, and therefore prohibited from being brought into NSW and anyone who sees it must report it. It is also listed as one of Australia's 32 Weeds of National Significance.

"Council are continuing to work with the Department of Primary Industries to ensure measures of control are in place and there is an ongoing monitoring of Parthenium Weed on site. We have received assistance from other NSW local control authorities in undertaking delimitation activities and additional surveillance in the area.

"This is a prime example of why being vigilant for new or unusual plants on your property and reporting these promptly, can result in a fast response from local and state agencies, that can effectively control or mitigate any major new weed incursions within the Parkes Shire," Mr Francis concluded.

While completely eliminating the risk of introducing new weeds through grain and hay stockfeed is unrealistic, Council are urging landholders to understand the importance of restricting the area where livestock are fed. If contained, feeding areas can be easily monitored for weed germination and controlled as necessary.

There are various resources available through the Department of Primary Industries and Grains Research and Development Corporation websites to assist landholders with weed identification, management and control.

Council also offers free property inspections and plant identification services and can assist landholders to tailor specialised control programs for specific weeds. For further information, please contact Council’s Biosecurity Officers on 6861 2343.