On The Land

28 July, 2023

Program to target fall armyworm

TABLELAND corn and maize growers will receive additional support against fall armyworm with a nationally coordinated program to reduce the pest’s population and its impact.

Program to target fall armyworm - feature photo

Led by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and delivered with co-investment from Hort Innovation, the $2.1 million initiative will arm vegetable growers with the tools and knowledge they need to wage war on the ravenous pest.

The program will generate shared knowledge about the pest and its management through regionally based area-wide management groups, on-farm activities and workshops.

Fall armyworm was first detected in Australia in the Torres Strait in January 2020 and has since spread to every state and territory except South Australia.

To date, fall armyworm has caused significant crop losses in sweet corn, maize and sorghum. A number of other horticultural, grain and fodder crops have been impacted to a lesser degree.

Discussions are underway with grains and cotton industries to expand the program to broadacre crops grown in regions with vegetables to enhance area-wide management of this pest.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said growers needed all the help they could get to combat the pest.

“Our growers are on the front line when it comes to managing fall armyworm, so it is important that we support them with science-based practical management tools,” he said.

“Getting the science right is vital, and it is just as important to get the right information about fall armyworm management into the hands of our farmers.”

Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said the program would hasten the industry’s response to fall armyworm.

“Fall armyworm is here to stay, so we are equipping the vegetable industry with what they need to reduce the pest’s impact while remaining productive and profitable,” he said.

“This program will accelerate our response towards the pest by rapidly bringing cutting edge science into vegetable growers management tool kits, advancing best practice management for vegetable growers and ensuring this new knowledge is communicated widely.”


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