Farmers battle crop bugs

THE recent floods have created headaches for farmers battling insect pests.

Crop pest researcher Hugh Brier, from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, said the extra rain presented many challenges for farmers.

Mr Brier said these conditions could allow for an explosion in numbers of certain types of pests, including helicoverpa (caterpillar) and pod-sucking bug populations in summer pulse crops.

“The problem arises not only because some pest insects like the cooler conditions and the increased moisture favours the development of early season crop and weed hosts but also because farmers cannot sample their crops for bugs as often as they need to,” he said.

Despite the challenges, solutions are at hand for farmers facing bug outbreaks in crops.

“Opportunistic sampling – that is the answer,” said Mr Brier.

“Every opportunity must be taken to sample crops when the opportunity arises between rain events. If you know what the likely pests and their damage symptoms look like in advance you will be better placed to manage them effectively.”

To report significant pest outbreaks, farmers should contact the DEEDI Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.



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