Farmers in Queensland's Wide Bay region are bracing themselves to fight the fall armyworm. The pests have also been found in the Burdekin, the Northern Territory and in Western Australia, and are known to threaten about 350 plant species — but farmers say they don't know much beyond that.
"No-one really knows whether or not it's going to have a big impact on sugar cane," Bundaberg sugarcane, soybean and potato farmer Mark Pressler said.
Traps have already been set at 18 sites, from Coen to the Burdekin and Mackay, west to Richmond and Longreach, and through central Queensland into the Wide Bay Burnett and across the Darling Downs.
(Supplied: NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources)
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries principal entomologist Melina Miles says it will take time to gauge the magnitude of damage and the potential economic fallout. "It's definitely going to be something that becomes part of the landscape and that we will have to learn to manage," Ms Miles said.