Following the first detection of fall armyworm (FAW) in forage sorghum in NSW, North Coast Local Land Services (LLS) and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) are urging producers to monitor crops for signs of FAW.

In NSW, the pest had previously only been seen in maize crops, but has recently been found in forage sorghum in the Cudgen area.

North Coast LLS Land Services Officer Donna Cuthel said while pheromone traps have been set up across the region to monitor populations, producers should be on the lookout for damage to crops.

“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,” Ms Cuthel said.

“Small larvae are difficult to identify, so we recommend growers keep suspect larvae on host crop leaves and grow them out for a few days until they can be more easily identified through photographs.”

In NSW, Maize has been the preferred food source for FAW since it was detected last year.

However, as maize crops are harvested, other crop species, such as sorghum, pulses, winter cereals, sugar cane, rice and cotton, will become more susceptible.

NSW DPI research entomologist Dr Lisa Bird said results from moth trapping activities show that populations are persisting in some locations on the North Coast.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and this will help us understand host preference of FAW during the winter cropping cycle in this region,” Dr Bird said.

“We encourage growers to conduct regular monitoring of forage crops. If sprays are warranted, the use of chemical rotation will reduce the risk of resistance development and optimise the cost of insecticide applications.”

The best way to notify of suspected cases and get assistance with identification is to email clear photos, along with your name, location and phone number to fallarmyworm@dpi.nsw.gov.au

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has issued FAW control permits, including permits for control in rice, sweetcorn, safflower and sunflower.

More information on identification, treatment options, and resistance management is available on DPI and LLS websites. Farmers should contact LLS staff for advice on FAW management.


Emily Findlay – North Coast Local Land Services M: 0419221136

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