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Queensland Growers Should be Vigilant Against Locusts

20 March 2012

AUSTRALIA - Central Queensland landholders are urged to closely monitor their properties this season and report any large locust populations to Biosecurity Queensland.

Principal Biosecurity Officer Duncan Swan said the recent weather conditions had provided an ideal environment for locust activity which could lead to problems in the coming months.

"Despite the current low numbers, the continuing ideal conditions could lead to locust swarms forming in the Central Highlands region," Mr Swan said.

"Regular monitoring of crops ensures early detection of these pests and enables landholders to put control measures in place before a plague develops.

"Landholders should remain vigilant and report all locust sightings to Biosecurity Queensland or the Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC)."

Mr Swan said locust populations had not increased since a control campaign was conducted by Biosecurity Queensland in 2010, demonstrating the importance of early intervention.

"During the six months of this campaign, 111 swarms were controlled, covering an area of 30,582 hectares," he said.

"It targeted spur-throated locust swarms that were threatening cropping areas in the Central Highlands and Maranoa regions.

"Biosecurity Queensland is continuing to prepare for locust swarms should they appear again this year."

Biosecurity Officers from the Invasive Plants and Animals program recently undertook the first of a series of aircrew courses with Careflight Training Services on the Gold Coast.

The aim of the course was to prepare the officers for undertaking aerial surveillance for locust swarms.

Biosecurity Queensland uses helicopters extensively to search for locusts, as well as undertaking aerial surveillance for high priority weed species.

"Our work involves low level flying, just a few meters off the ground, our officers need to be trained to a high safety standard and work very closely with the pilots" Mr Swan said.

"This course gives our staff increased skills and knowledge to operate in the aviation environment safely and effectively and to the industry standard."

TheCropSite News Desk

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