New resources have been developed to help farmers defend their crops against fall armyworm.

The invasive pest has spread across the country and made its way to a number of key cropping zones since its first detection on the mainland at Bamaga in February.

The Fall Armyworm Continuity Plan is intended for use as a reference guide that provides a basis for designing area wide management plans, crop specific management manuals and strategies to avoid resistance to chemical controls.

Cesar research lead Olivia Reynolds said the plan would be an important resource to aid industry in dealing with the exotic pest.

“It is intended as a reference document for professionals, specialists and consultants in preparing more localised and industry-specific communication and extension material,” Dr Reynolds said.

“This plan compiles information from international literature and expertise and provides a solid background of knowledge on the pest, which will support the development of effective management strategies, plans and information sharing networks.”

Plant Health Australia preparedness and RD&E national manager Stuart Kearns said the threat posed by fall armyworm prompted concerted efforts to find out about its likely effects in Australia and how best to manage it.

“As fall armyworm is new to Australia, we are relying on information and experience from overseas until locally generated data is developed to bolster this information,” Mr Kearns said.

“The information assembled includes how to scout for and recognise the pest, its lifecycle and biology, estimated areas at risk, and management practices that will help to limit the damage it causes.”

Grains Research Development Corporation biosecurity manager Jeevan Khurana said fall armyworm had been a pest of agriculture in the Americas for a long time and was now causing problems in many parts of the world.

“This project has captured the global experience and used that to inform and anticipate what we face here in Australia and how best to manage it,” Dr Khurana said.

The project was led by sustainable agriculture research organisation Cesarwith project partners PHA, the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International, and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries. It was a GRDC investment initiative.

PHA has also produced a series of podcasts, funded by the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative, geared towards helping agronomists and farmers prepare for potential business impacts.

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