Since its initial detection on the tip of Cape York, the Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) has now been detected 800km south in a maize crop in Croydon.
The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) met on 24 February 2020 and concluded that fall armyworm is not technically feasible to eradicate from Australia due to the heavy infestation at Croydon, the remote locations in which it has been found, and the speed and distance that fall armyworm can naturally spread.
This pest poses a significant risk to Australia’s nursery industry, and production nurseries are urged to implement rigorous plant protection protocols to reduce the risk of incursion.
Known to eat and destroy more than 350 plant species when caterpillar population levels are high, the destruction of crops can almost occur overnight.
Detection of this pest in Australia has been in the form of Adult fall armyworms (moths), which were caught in surveillance traps managed by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment’s Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS).
As of February 28, fall armyworm, has not been detected in any commercial production areas, but growers are urged to remain on alert.