First Fall Armyworm Detection in the Hunter

Landholders and producers have been urged to be on the lookout for signs of damage and the presence of fall armyworm larvae in crops following the first detection of the pest in the Hunter.

Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) Pastures Officer David Deane said fall armyworm larvae was found at a property near East Maitland.

“This is the first detection of fall armyworm in the Hunter and we need all growers throughout the region to be vigilant, and keep an eye out for signs of fall armyworm,” Mr Deane said.

“The best thing landholders can do to reduce the spread and impact of this pest is to identify the signs and symptoms early, and report any suspect cases as quickly as possible – that’s how this detection came about.

“Landholders should be looking for windowing of leaves where larvae have hatched and small shot holes as leaves expand, caused by larvae feeding in the developing leaf whorl.”

“While this pest is known to feed on more than 350 plant species, particularly sorghum and maize, it has the potential to impact any crop where food choice is limited.”

Fall armyworm moths have been found at various locations across NSW, including the Liverpool Plains and Central West, as a result of the early warning trapping network established by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and LLS.

Anyone who suspects the presence of fall armyworm should immediately call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

In most cases, DPI will be able to identify larvae from clear photographs which can be sent via an online form or to biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au with your contact details.

For small larvae, DPI and LLS recommend retaining samples with food, such as host crop leaves, and allow them to grow to enable photographs to be taken.

More information on identification, treatment options and resistance management is available on DPI and LLS websites. Farmers should contact their LLS staff or regular agronomist for advice on fall armyworm management

Landholders can also register for a free fall armyworm webinar hosted by the Grain Research and Development Corporation on November 12, to hear from QLD experts who have been dealing with the pest for months. Register here: https://grdc.com.au/events/list/submitted/2020/grdc-grains-research-update,-online-fall-armyworm

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