First fall armyworm detected in NSW

12 Oct 2020

Large fall armyworm caterpillar

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall has urged northern NSW farmers to be on the lookout for fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) in crops following the positive identification today of a single male moth, trapped between Moree and Boggabilla.

Mr Marshall said the fall armyworm moth was trapped near a sorghum crop during routine surveillance of the early warning trapping network established by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS).

“This is the first known detection of the pest in NSW and its early detection will help minimise the impacts of fall armyworm,” Mr Marshall said.

“DPI and North West LLS are working to keep growers and industry informed of recommended biosecurity and management strategies to reduce any impacts.

“Farmers should monitor crops, particularly sorghum and maize, regularly for signs of fall armyworm damage, egg masses and larvae.

“Control weeds and volunteer plants in fallow paddocks, along fence lines and around buildings to reduce the number of pest hosts.

“DPI and LLS can provide information on fall armyworm control options available to growers.”

In northern Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland, where the pest has established populations since being first identified in early 2020, fall armyworm has impacted on maize and sweet corn.

Fall armyworm larvae are known to feed on more than 350 plant species, particularly maize, cotton, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, as well as vegetable and fruit crops. The pest has potential to impact any crop where food choice is limited.

It is anticipated that migratory flights of the pest will occur across NSW annually and fall armyworm may establish in some of the warmer parts of NSW.

If you suspect fall armyworm you must report it immediately to NSW DPI by calling 1800 084 881 or completing an online form.

Farmers should contact their local LLS for advice on fall armyworm management.

Media contact: Connor McGoverne | 0408 185 304