Locust fears subside on eastern seaboard

31 Oct, 2000 03:03 PM
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FEAR of landholder apathy has surfaced in the locust battle on the east coast, as the Australian Plague Locust Commission continues its control strategy against the hoppers. Up until last week, the APLC had already sprayed about 70,000 hectares in western NSW, northern Victoria and south eastern SA, while Primary Industries and Resources SA had sprayed about 100,000ha. In those area, however, 90 per cent of control was expected to be carried out by those government bodies, with landholders involved at only a minor level. APLC entomologist Dr Graeme Hamilton said the Commission had not been as busy as it had expected and it now appeared locust numbers in NSW and Victoria were not going to be as high as feared. "This year, we undertook our largest autumn spraying campaign, and PIRSA actually sprayed in autumn for the first time ever," he said. "From the look of it now, those autumn treatments appear to have had a significant impact on the locust numbers in spring." But Dr Hamilton said there was still concern that complacency by landholders would prevent vigilant monitoring, reporting and spraying. "There is also a danger some people will assume locusts will not be a problem and just go away, if that has happened before," he said. "Just because locusts did not damage one particular area in the past, they still might attack the same crops this time around. "It is impossible to predict." Recent rains had interrupted APLC operation in all areas, although aerial spraying was set to resume this week with clearer weather.

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