Australia: Fall armyworm on the march in Far North Queensland

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Australia: Fall armyworm on the march in Far North Queensland

More detections of the invasive moth pest fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) have been made in Australia's Far North Queensland.

Suspect moths collected at South Johnstone, Tolga and Lakeland were confirmed by Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ entomologists to be fall armyworm.

These latest detections follow recent confirmed detections on two Torres Strait Islands, at Bamaga and in the north-west Gulf country and is further evidence of the pest’s ability to spread quickly.

A surveillance program for fall armyworm, which commenced on the Atherton Tablelands, Innisfail, Port Douglas, Mossman, Lakeland and Cairns regions last week, will be expanded as more traps become available.

We will continue to monitor and track the spread of this pest in Queensland, so we can alert growers when they may expect to start seeing some damage to crops.

While the national technical committee that oversees the management of plant pest and disease incursions had determined that it is not technically feasible to eradicate this pest from Australia, managing the impacts of fall armyworm is our priority.

Much work is needed to prepare for and minimize the potential impacts of fall armyworm. An industry roundtable was held on Thursday 27 February 2020 and we will continue to work with industry to spread the word about the risk of this pest and also provide advice on control strategies that are available to them.

Growers should have on-farm biosecurity measures to protect their crops from pests and diseases, the Department of Agriculture said.

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