Workshop focuses on ways to combat fall armyworm

News release | 10-Mar-2020

”Be alert, not alarmed” was one of the key messages at an industry workshop in Brisbane yesterday discussing the potential impacts fall armyworm may have on Queensland agriculture.

Agri-Science Queensland Executive Director Wayne Hall said the workshop tapped into a broad range of knowledge and expertise in a bid to better understand the state of play for the fall armyworm moth and its larvae.

“Today’s workshop was an important forum to identify knowledge gaps and exchange technical information to build expertise and develop short, medium, and longer term research, development and extension priorities to combat fall armyworm,” Mr Hall said.

“Crucial input was provided from a range of industry stakeholders including research and development corporations (RDC) such as Grains RDC and Hort Innovation Australia, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, CSIRO, universities and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

“In addition to updating industry on the latest distribution of fall armyworm and the immediate management strategies that are available, a key focus for the Department will be assessing, with industry, the impact of future research and development that would assist industry to manage this new pest.”

Mr Hall said the workshop was further demonstration of the Department’s resolve to address the threat posed by the fall armyworm moth and its larvae to Queensland’s agriculture industry.

“Fall armyworm, which is new to Australia, is a pest which has been reported to be found on more than 350 plant species,” Mr Hall said.

“Of particular concern is the potential impact on Queensland’s economically important broad acre crops such as maize, sorghum, sugarcane, wheat, cotton, as well as our significant fruit and vegetable industry”.

“The wide host range of the adult moth and its larvae means it could potentially cause production losses across a number of industries.

“Therefore, working with industry is vital to limiting the impact of this pest and today’s workshop follows an industry roundtable held on Thursday 27 February 2020.

“The Department has responded swiftly ramping up surveillance efforts in Queensland’s key food producing areas and keeping industry and the community informed on the situation.”

Mr Hall said producers should already have strong on-farm biosecurity measures to protect their crops from pests and diseases.

“Producers should monitor crops for signs of unusual levels of caterpillar damage leading to defoliation of the crop and report suspected sightings to assist with early detection, and potential treatment.

“Another good practice producers should implement is good farm hygiene for weed control to remove hosts that could build populations.

“Producers who think that they may have come across fall armyworm are strongly encouraged to photograph and report suspect sightings to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 or to their agronomist, local biosecurity officer or extension officer.”

More information is available at daf.qld.gov.au

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Media contact: DAF Media, media@daf.qld.gov.au