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Vigilance Against Locusts Needed Despite Low Forecast

31 October 2012

AUSTRALIA - Population upsurges in the west and low populations to the east for locusts are on the horizon according to the latest situation forecast from the Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC).

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, welcomed the analysis and encouraged farmers to maintain pest controls.

“Despite favourable conditions wheat farmers should remain vigilant and keep up surveillance and control activities,” Minister Ludwig said.

“We do not expect significant locust populations for Australia’s east until February next year at the earliest.”

The 2011-12 locust season ended in eastern Australia (Qld, NSW, Vic and SA) with only a small population in the late autumn generation, with the only higher density infestation in the Jamestown-Burra region of South Australia. APLC, with Primary Industries and Regions SA is providing advice to affected landholders regarding spot control of the locusts which will hatch in the second half of October.

APLC surveillance over eastern Australia has confirmed locust populations in all other parts of eastern Australia will remain low for the first two generations of the 2012-13 season. Some small pockets of higher infestation may develop in the late summer – autumn generation (February – March 2013), but only if substantial wide-spread rain occurs.

Western Australia is experiencing significant locust populations in the southern wheat belt areas. The APLC provided forecasts to the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and will provide technical advice and training in surveillance techniques to assist the state response.

“Western Australia’s developing wheat crops may experience some damage from locust population rises in the state,” Minister Ludwig said.

“However, APLC forecasting indicates there is likely to be limited persistence of locusts after the current spring generation thanks to limited rainfall in affected areas.”

Minister Ludwig credited a history of partnerships between the Australian government, state and local governments, as well as the vigilance of landholders and farmers in the recent success of pest locust control activities.

“Everyone has a role to play in helping protect Australia’s agricultural industries from pests both foreign and domestic—like the Australian plague locust,” Minister Ludwig said.

Locust sightings should be reported to the APLC on freecall 1800 635 962.

TheCropSite News Desk

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