Saturday, December 2, 2023

Fall armyworm found in North Canterbury

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FAR warns of potentially significant crop losses.
The worm, which arrived in New Zealand this time last year, is thought to have been carried on storm fronts from Australia.
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Fall armyworm has been confirmed in a crop of North Canterbury sweetcorn. It brings the total number of finds for the 2022-23 year to 133.

Although the fall armyworm (FAW) larvae population is low and at an early stage of development, its presence, when combined with a large corn earworm population, means crop losses could be significant, the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) said in a FAW update.

A second large flight has been recorded, with 87 FAW moths found in Northland traps.

Many crops have been or are close to harvest around New Zealand, which means FAW’s preferred food source is reduced.

Therefore, it is important to stay vigilant and scout neighbouring paddocks, as fall armyworm could look to other crops for a food source in the absence of maize and sweetcorn, FAR said.

There continue to be reports of fall armyworm larvae being parasitised by the parasitic wasp Cotesia sp, which will help contain the numbers.

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