Landholders are advised to keep a close watch on locust populations over the summer months and take action to avoid potentially bigger problems with autumn crop plantings.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Plague Locust Commissioner Dr Andrew Sanger said the spring generation of locusts in the State’s Central West, Southwest Plains and eastern Riverina regions had benefitted from the spring rainfall and are primed to produce a big summer generation.
“With the current favourable vegetation and further rainfall expected over the coming months, we anticipate a high level of survival of the nymphs that will hatch from the eggs currently being laid by adult locusts,” Dr Sanger said.
“Landholders have experienced their best harvest for several years and while some are looking forward to a break over summer, action is needed as the summer generation could easily balloon into a bigger hatching, that would severely impact autumn crops.”
Director of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, Chris Adriaansen, said it is important that landholders are prepared to take control of the summer locusts to give their autumn plantings the best opportunity to take advantage of favourable weather conditions.
“Based on our forecasts and timing models, the autumn generation in these regions would be hatching around the same time many landholders would be planting their next autumn crops,” Mr Adriaansen said.
“Those hoppers will come out of the ground hungry, so a new emerging crop will be very attractive to them, regardless of when the crop is planted, the seedling stage is susceptible to locust damage.
During the 2010 locust outbreak, one Riverina farmer lost around $100,000 of recently emerged carrot seedlings to locusts, so they will attack crops other than cereal grains if the timing is right.”
Dr Sanger advised landholders to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best.
“Landholders are in the best position to regularly monitor locust activity on their properties and to work with Local Land Services officers to control small infestations to be most effective in reducing later populations,” he said.
“Being prepared to undertake a small amount of control during the summer generation of locusts could avoid the potential of much bigger losses which might otherwise result from the autumn generation of hoppers.”
Reports of locust activity can be made directly to your Local Land Services officers on 1300 795 299, or to the Australia Plague Locust Commission on 1800 635 962.
Source: NSW DPI