Supporting growers on the front line against fall armyworm

Published Wednesday, 19 July, 2023 at 07:18 AM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

Growers will receive additional support against fall armyworm with a nationally coordinated program to reduce the pest’s population and its impact.

Led by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and delivered with co-investment from Hort Innovation, the $2.1 million initiative will arm vegetable growers with the tools and knowledge they need to wage war on the ravenous pest.

The program will generate shared knowledge about the pest and its management through regionally based area-wide management groups, on-farm activities and workshops.

Fall armyworm was first detected in Australia in the Torres Strait in January 2020 and has since spread to every state and territory except South Australia.

To date, fall armyworm has caused significant crop losses in sweet corn, maize and sorghum. A number of other horticultural, grain and fodder crops have been impacted to a lesser degree.

Discussions are underway with grains and cotton industries to expand the program to broadacre crops grown in regions with vegetables to enhance area-wide management of this pest.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner:

“This initiative demonstrates the Queensland Government’s commitment to delivering a successful and integrated fall armyworm management strategy.

“Our growers are on the front line when it comes to managing fall armyworm, so it is important that we support them with science-based practical management tools.

“Getting the science right is vital, and it is just as important to get the right information about fall armyworm management into the hands of our farmers.

“This program will ensure they can easily access the latest industry information and resources to maximise their efforts against this pest.”

Quotes attributable to Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield:

“Fall armyworm is here to stay, so we are equipping the vegetable industry with what they need to reduce the pest’s impact while remaining productive and profitable,” Mr Fifield said.

“This program will accelerate our response towards the pest by rapidly bringing cutting edge science into vegetable growers management tool kits, advancing best practice management for vegetable growers and ensuring this new knowledge is communicated widely.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries senior scientist Dr Heidi Parkes:

“The program brings research and industry experience in fall armyworm management from across Australia and the globe to multi-industry growing regions nationally,” Dr Parkes said.

“Workshops and learning activities with industry will be underpinned by world-class research to ensure impacted growers are getting the most up to date information available.

“The program will also provide a mechanism for each industry to identify and remedy gaps in knowledge, skills, technology or practices that need to be addressed through further research.”

Quotes attributable to AUSVEG chief executive officer Michael Coote:

“The program will bolster the resilience of vegetable growers and position the industry for ongoing success,” Mr Coote said.

“Since fall armyworm arrived on our shores, vegetable growers have quickly stepped into action to combat the pest.

“This investment will fortify our industry against fall armyworm’s impact and ensure that there are no disruptions to the supply of fresh produce to Australians.”


Media contact – Martin Philip 0407 675 008