17 January 2023, New Zealand: Biosecurity New Zealand and primary sector partners are continuing to respond to the discovery of the Fall Armyworm and want to thank all farmers and growers for keeping an eye out and reporting signs of this moth pest. For now, the focus remains on identifying the spread, reporting any possible finds and dealing with any confirmed populations.
Process Vegetables New Zealand, Vegetables New Zealand, Onions New Zealand and other industry groups are closely engaged in the Fall Armyworm response, alongside other GIA partners Seed and Grain Readiness and Response, and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Managing the plant pest fall armyworm
Fall Armyworm thrives in warm climates. Growers are encouraged to look for signs of it, particularly on volunteer maize and corn plants. Information about this pest and what to look for can be found here.
Better Border Biosecurity (B3) has established a research programme to understand the survival, distribution and potential impacts of Fall Armyworm in New Zealand. From September 2022, more than 200 Fall Armyworm pheromone traps will be distributed around the country to support the B3 research work.
While there are insecticides that have proven to be effective, growers must check with their distributor, marketer, and/or processor regarding the use of agrichemicals.
Work is being done to identify possible Fall Armyworm controls, and agrichemical companies are being encouraged to register suitable products for control.
North Island growers
Since 1 September 2022, there have been nine positive detections of this pest. Five have been in the Waikato, two in Northland, and one in Auckland. The detections support MPI’s risk analysis that found the pest was likely to arrive on storm fronts across the Tasman.
Biosecurity New Zealand has had people on the ground checking paddocks in areas where Fall Armyworm has been found. They have been talking to growers and collecting samples, and staff will be available for ongoing support as required.
South Island growers
Growers and farmers in the top-of-the South Island should keep a look out for Fall Armyworm, despite there being a lower chance of the pest arriving there.
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