Western Australian growers are bracing themselves for the spread of an invasive species as the fall armyworm continues its journey across the state and more than 1,000 kilometres from where it was first detected in the Kimberley.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development detected the pest on crops at two properties near Broome this week, less than a month after it was found in a trap in the Ord Irrigation Scheme. And there are fears it will continue to head south, towards WA's multi-billion-dollar grain industry.
Armyworms are known to damage more than 350 plant species like maize, sorghum, corn, fruits, and vegetables, and has devastated crops throughout South-East Asia.
The latest detections in the West Kimberley have got pastoralists worried, having invested millions of dollars in water infrastructure for irrigated fodder production.