UPDATE: A NEW weed which is toxic to cattle has been found in East Gippsland and could spread without quick action from farmers.
Fireweed is a poisonous weed common in parts of New South Wales and plants have been identified around Genoa, Cann River and as far West as Sale and also in Wodonga.
The largest ever infestation found in Victoria, about 50 plants, was discovered at the Cann River tip last week.
The plant was classified as a weed of national significance in April this year, but is not yet listed as a noxious weed by Victorian authorities.
Fireweed has yellow flowers and gets it name because it spreads rapidly and can produce four generations of progeny in a season.
Genoa cattle producer Robert De Geus has been removing Fireweed on his property for three years, and wants it listed as a noxious weed by the Department of Primary Industries.
Mr De Geus said the weed is a serious management problem for NSW producers in the Bega Valley as it is toxic to animals and very difficult to dispose of.
"The worst thing about Fireweed it’s toxic to animals whether it’s dry or green," Mr De Geus said.
"It’s a vicious plant it runs rings around thistles and its worse than Patterson’s Curse," he said.
National Fireweed Coordinator Bronwen Wicks said regulation was not necessarily the answer, but community awareness and action was the best defence against its spread.
Ms Wicks said landholders needed to be vigilant of the threat and learn how to identify it, but not try and dispose of it themselves but notify local DPI office.
"It's possible to slow the spread (of Fireweed) but…it depends on the vigilance on of the community," Ms Wicks said.
"Act quickly and promptly and let the DPI know…if you find something."
East Gippsland Shire Council said they removed all the weeds found in at the Shire’s Cann River landfill site and were working with Landcare staff on the issue.
A Fireweed identification and prevention workshop will be held at the Cann River Hall on 14 November at 10am for details contact Emma Orgill 5161 1280 or emma.orgill@DPI.vic.gov.au
The Department of Primary Industries failed to return calls.