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Farmers' Vigilance Keeps Locusts At Bay

11 November 2011

AUSTRALIA - Last year's plague locust season was one of the worst in history but this year's forecast is much more positive.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has thanked farmers and state and federal primary industry agencies for their vigilance during summer and autumn that has resulted in current locust numbers being at low levels.

“This time last year, we feared that the Australian plague locust season would be the worst in 70 years, with a record number of eggs laid,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Fortunately this year the spring locust populations are much smaller and the forecast is that they are unlikely to produce a significant swarm infestation in any region this summer, with only small localised populations in minor areas of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.”

Minister Ludwig credited the favourable forecast to successful locust control activities by the Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC), and the partnership response by the Australian, state and local governments, as well as the attention of farmers and landholders.

“This is good news for producers who know only too well the potentially devastating impacts a locust outbreak can have through crop and pasture losses or downgraded crops,” Minister Ludwig said.

In March 2011, the Australian Bureau of Resource Economics and Sciences presented the 'Benefit-Cost Analysis of Australian Plague Locust Control Operations for 2010-11', which clearly showed for every dollar spent by the Australian and state government agencies, an average of $19 of crop and pasture losses were avoided.

“Affected governments’ investment of $50 million used to control last season’s locust plague has resulted in a sound return, saving a total of more than $950 million in crop and pastures,” Minister Ludwig said.

The APLC manages populations of three defined locust pest species in situations where populations have the potential to inflict significant damage to agricultural industries in more than one member state – Queensland, News South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It also undertakes a wide range of other works, including survey and monitoring, control and research.

TheCropSite News Desk

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