Landholders are being urged to remain vigilant to managing invasive pests following an outbreak of Parthenium weed across the Toowoomba Region.

Parthenium has been detected around Nobby and on the outskirts of Toowoomba City and Highfields, as well as along sections of the Warrego Highway within the Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) area.

Classified as a Weed of National Significance, Parthenium is toxic to cattle and sheep and can cause stock animals to have allergic skin reactions when they’re located in areas infected by the weed.

The weed can also cause contact dermatitis and allergic reactions such as asthma and hay fever and ongoing issues for primary producers who have ongoing contact with the pest.

TRC Portfolio Leader for Environment and Community Cr Tim McMahon said Parthenium is a highly invasive pest which has overrun large tracts of land in Central Queensland and it’s vital farmers and families on affected properties take precautions to manage risks associated with the weed.

“Parthenium can have a devastating impact on the landscape and be harmful to people who come in contact with it for prolonged periods of time,” Cr McMahon said.

“In the past this weed has been found in sporadic, small amounts across the Toowoomba Region, but in recent years it has spread because of the movement of drought fodder from outside the region.

“Council is concerned about the dramatically increased rate at which this harmful weed is spreading and is working with local landcare groups and landholders to give them the tools and support they need to protect their property.

“It’s important that members of the community are aware that simply driving or parking on a road verge infested with Parthenium can enable it to easily spread to otherwise uninfected areas.

“Council has placed warning signs along public roads in relevant areas and I would urge residents and motorists to heed the message and to take all practical steps to help stop the spread of Parthenium.

“Everyone has a part to play in managing invasive pests across our region.”

Cr McMahon added Parthenium weed can reproduce rapidly and is often mistaken for ragweed (Ambrosia species), Bishops Weed (Ammi majus), Hemlock (Conium maculatum) and some fleabanes (Conyza species).

“Parthenium can very quickly become difficult and costly to control resulting in restricted movement of stock and machinery in infected areas,” Cr McMahon said.

“Primary producers and landholders should be taking active control measures to help curb the spread.

“At its early stages Parthenium is easily controlled with herbicides but that untreated plants can quickly become large scale outbreaks so early intervention is key.”

Landholders can contact TRC’s Biosecurity Compliance team on 131 872 or visit daf.qld.gov.au for more information.