The fall armyworm has been spreading across Australia after it was first detected in January on two Torres Strait islands, before it arrived on the mainland at Bamaga in February. Now, the fall armyworm threat to Queensland's crops has gone up after the invasive pest was found at St George, Chinchilla and in the Lockyer Valley.
According to Department of Agriculture and Fisheries principal entomologist Dr Melina Miles, southern Queensland farmers need to be on high alert: "Given fall armyworm was recently detected in the several parts of southern Queensland, growers should be watching both the level of activity in local traps and closely monitoring the vegetative state of their crops. They can work with their entomologist to identify the signs that fall armyworm are active and to distinguish them from native armyworms. The risk in northern NSW and central Queensland, in places like Emerald and the Darling Downs is real and growers there need to be on high alert."
The Department has been working with Pacific Seeds to help provide growers with tools to manage the pest. This includes developing an integrated pest management strategy and simulating damage at varying crop stages to assist in refining the timing of control measures.