Biosecurity Queensland says the latest find of fall armyworm to the west of Cairns is a blow to agriculture. Eradicating the potentially catastrophic Fall Armyworm from Australia will likely prove impossible after detections of the moth, nearly 1,000 kilometres south of its original detection point.
Fall Armyworm is native to tropical and sub-tropical areas of America. Initial detection in Africa during 2016 saw the Fall Armyworm spread to more than 30 countries over a 3 year period. In 2018, for the first time, fall armyworm was detected in India and Sri Lanka. In 2019, it spread to Asian countries including; Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, China and Indonesia. Fall Armyworm has been more recently detected on the northern Torres Strait islands and at the tip of Cape York early this year, it has now spread south and west across mainland Australia.
Fall Armyworm is known to feed on more than 350 plant species, including maize, cotton, rice, sorghum, sugarcane, wheat, and many vegetable and fruit crops causing significant economic loss. Destruction of crops can happen almost overnight when infestation levels are high.
The CSIRO's Senior Research Scientist Dr. Wee Tek Tay said none of the 65 countries that Fall Armyworm had invaded had successfully attempted to eradicate it, largely because of the difficulty of doing so, "It can fly 100 or 200 kilometres quite easily, especially with the right conditions and prevailing winds", he said.
Corteva Agriscience has assisted Horticulture Innovation to successfully secure an emergency use permit from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to allow the use of Success Neo for the control of this potentially devastating pest.
Success Neo insecticide contains one of only 2 active ingredients currently permitted for the control of Fall Armyworm in Australia. Dr. Rob Annetts from Corteva says, “Success Neo is an excellent product with proven efficacy on Fall Armyworm whilst delivering a high degree of selectivity to key beneficial insects and safety for farm workers and the environment”.
Dr Annetts does stress however that “Success Neo is not a silver bullet”. He told us that, “effective Fall Armyworm management requires multiple approaches including tactics such as eliminating weed hosts, monitoring and actions to control the pest once it is detected”.
“The highly migratory behaviour of this pest means that effective and sustained control requires area wide management implementation” he said.
Dr. Annetts also stressed the importance of rotating between available control options to avoid the over-use of Success Neo and prevent the potential for resistance.
“Success Neo has been the cornerstone of Integrated Pest management programs in a range of crops for nearly two decades and we continue to expand the label uses. We are currently working on registrations for the control of Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP) in potatoes and Onion thrips in onions amongst other label updates”, Rob told us.
This popularity however means that growers have to be very careful to follow label directions, paying particular attention to the number of sprays being applied per season, using the correct label rates and spraying only when economic thresholds are reached in order to prolong the effective life of this very important product.
Success Neo Insecticide can be applied under Permit 89241 for control of Fall Armyworm in various crops.
About Corteva Agriscience
Corteva Agriscience is a publicly traded, global pure-play agriculture company that provides farmers around the world with the most complete portfolio in the industry - including a balanced and diverse mix of seed, crop protection and digital solutions focused on maximising productivity to enhance yield and profitability. With some of the most recognised brands in agriculture and an industry-leading product and technology pipeline well positioned to drive growth, the company is committed to working with stakeholders throughout the food system as it fulfils its promise to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume, ensuring progress for generations to come.