Cropping

Locust alert for WA grain growers

Grain Central, August 29, 2016

LANDHOLDERS in Western Australia’s grainbelt are urged to inspect their properties for locust activity and be prepared to implement control activities during spring.

The Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) is predicting significant numbers of Australian plague locusts (APL) will build up during spring in eastern and southern parts of the grainbelt.

The Australian plague locust hopper (left) showing the typically saddle-shaped body profile, compared to the Australian wingless grasshopper (right) body profile, which is more straight. Source: DAFWA

The Australian plague locust hopper (left) showing the typically saddle-shaped body profile, compared to the Australian wingless grasshopper (right) body profile, which is more straight. Source: DAFWA

Department Invasive Species acting director Malcolm Kennedy said hatchings were expected to occur from September.

Surveys by the department have indicated moderate density hatchings could occur in parts of Ravensthorpe, Jerramungup, Gnowangerup, Narrogin, Kulin, Yilgarn, Westonia, Mukinbudin and Nungarin shires. In these areas, some locust bands and loose swarms are expected to form.

Variable hatchings are also likely in other parts of the southern agricultural region and eastern wheatbelt.

“It is vital that landholders control locusts by spraying paddocks at the right time to minimise damage to valuable pastures and crops where locusts emerge and feed,” Dr Kennedy said.

“Locusts will hatch at variable times and landholders should be checking their properties from early September for signs of locusts to determine when to start spraying. Green crops and pasture are most at risk from locust damage.”

Landholders who observed locusts on their properties in autumn needed to be particularly vigilant as there were likely to be egg beds which would hatch in spring.

“The main activity will be seen in pastures – look for early hatchings and hatching egg beds in places where there are bare areas such as around dam banks, roaded catchments and along fencelines,” he said.

While it is up to landholders to control locusts on their property, the department will assist with monitoring and surveys, and provide advice to landholders on the best control options and when to start spraying.

Landholders are also encouraged to use the department’s PestFax Reporter app to report where locusts are found.

Registered chemicals are commercially available, and landholders are reminded of the importance of complying with label regulations, particularly withholding periods.

Information on locust identification, monitoring and control is available on the department website or by phoning the Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881 or emailing [email protected].

Source: DAFWA

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