Emergency permit approved for use of Fawligen against fall armyworm

Grain Central, April 6, 2021

THE Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has issued an Emergency Use Permit (EUP) to allow the supply and emergency use of the agvet chemical, Fawligen, for the integrated management of the invasive crop pest, fall armyworm (FAW).

The exotic pest first appeared in Australia just over a year ago and has since spread throughout northern Australia and parts of the southern mainland.

In welcoming the announcement, Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the swift approval was a significant step in the battle against the voracious pest.

“Thanks to the APVMA’s prompt assessment and approval of (Queensland) DAF’s EUP application, valuable time has been gained in the search to find an effective management option for FAW,” he said.

“The EUP will allow industry to use Fawligen and for DAF entomologists to expand their important research to assess the effectiveness of Fawligen under Australian conditions.”

Natural pesticide

Mr Furner said Fawligen, a naturally occurring caterpillar virus that targeted FAW, was produced in the US by AgBiTech.

“Fawligen is a new product in Australia and the broader research made possible by the EUP will be vital in determining how and when to best use it,” he said

“Fawligen is a welcome addition to the options available for controlling FAW, particularly in crops, such as sweet corn, maize and sorghum, where currently available options are limited or ineffective.

“Further research and work by industry under the EUP will provide valuable data to help AgBiTech achieve its aim of gaining full Australian registration for Fawligen.”

Integrated management

AgBiTech’s General Manager for Australia, Philip Armytage, said Fawligen was best used as part of an integrated pest management system.

“Fawligen will work as an important management tool when used in strategic combinations with natural enemies and conventional chemistry options,” Mr Armytage said.

“Our information from overseas indicates that Fawligen it is not a strong, stand-alone solution for FAW control and as a result, Fawligen supply will be restricted to growers and consultants who have undertaken accredited training to ensure they are fully aware of the product’s abilities and limitations.

“AgBiTech will be providing a training program for farmers, agronomists and researchers who are considering using Fawligen.”

Sources: Qld Government, AgBiTech

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