Worst locust plague on record to hit Australian farmers

In Australasia, News Headlines

There is a warning the spring locust plague could be the worst on record due to the increasing use of modern farming methods.

A central west New South Wales agronomist says direct drilling to sow crops in the western region has not destroyed the egg beds and the tall, dry pasture will make it almost impossible to detect hatchings.

Forbes district agronomist Graham Falconer says time is running out to check for signs of the pest.

“It could be one of the worst plagues ever on record if control is not taken, there is no doubt about that. You’d be probably looking as early as August out in the western areas to do surveys and probably right through till the middle of October,” he said.

The State Government is being urged to increase funding and conduct a coordinated aerial sweep for signs of the locusts as part of its $18.5 million assistance package.

Mr Falconer says a GPS grid survey is needed.

“There could be a really major problem if those hatchings are not controlled very early and farmers are going to find it extremely
difficult,” he said.

“There’s a lot of tall, dry grass around and a lot of farmers have direct drilled which haven’t destroyed the egg beds in paddocks, so it’s unlikely that farmers will be able to find those locusts readily by the ground.”

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