Springer Spaniels have been trained to detect such diverse odours as explosives, narcotics, fake currency, bee hives and human remains, and now they are being put to work to tackle an old foe.
The services of a scent-detector dog have been enlisted to help landholders and the NSW Government tackle parthenium weed in the Croppa Creek region.
Member for Northern Tablelands and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said 'Connor' the spaniel had already proved his worth sniffing out hard-to-find weeds in the upper Hunter, Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions.
"While Connor is an adorable addition to our arsenal in the fight against weeds, the fight against Parthenium is a serious business," Mr Marshall said.
"This invasive weed can grow - and quickly - in most parts of the state and it's vitally important we find these plants before they flourish and set seed in summer.
"Parthenium is dangerous to grazing animals and reduces crop and land values so it's critical we get on top of this issue, which is why the NSW Government supports this program in collaboration with its other management programs."
Anyone who suspects parthenium weed should call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline 1800 680 244 or their local council, who will be able to identify any suspected sightings of the weed and provide assistance in its management.
Mr Marshall said the initiative followed record funding from the NSW Government on biosecurity.
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again; biosecurity is our number one agricultural priority," Mr Marshall said.
"Just last month, I opened our new $3 million Biosecurity State Co-ordination Centre. Days before that we announced a record $24.2 million funding boost to help farmers manage the state's worst weeds.
"Parthenium is one of the high-risk weeds that continues to put pressure on agriculture, but is equally under intense scrutiny and management from the NSW Government's biosecurity teams."
Further information about parthenium weed can be found at the NSW DPI website.
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