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Fall armyworm: emerging pest affecting Australia's dairy farms

25 January 2021
Dairy Australia

Fall Armyworm (FAW) is a recently detected plant pest in Australia that has the potential to cause significant damage to a wide range of crops. It first appeared in Australia in early 2020 and has now been detected in Queensland, NSW and Western Australia.

Fall armyworm is reported to feed on more than 350 plant species, including maize, cotton, rice, sorghum, sugarcane, tropical pastures, wheat, and vegetable and fruit crops, and has caused significant economic losses overseas.

For dairy farms relying on C4 grasses, maize and sorghum for grazing, hay and silage, there is likely to be an ongoing risk and potential impact, particularly in Australia’s warmer regions like Queensland or New South Wales during the summer months when maize and sorghum crops are grown.

Local land services as well as State Government Agriculture departments have been active in recent weeks monitoring and detecting FAW, with pheromone traps laid in several areas of Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Victoria.

For dairy farms in cooler regions FAW may represent an annual issue in summer as the pest moves in from the north when conditions allow. Consult your local agronomist immediately if you suspect that FAW is present in any of your crops this summer.



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