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Fall armyworm update 27 January 2023

Key Points:

  • Since 1st September 2022 there have been 93 confirmed fall armyworm finds. 12 of those were on the West Coast of the South Island in the past three weeks.
  • Adult fall armyworm (moths) are now being detected in the north of the North Island as well as larvae.
  • South Island fall armyworm workshops were conducted in Hokitika, Chertsey and Timaru with good attendance from growers, advisors and industry reps. Information is available on FAR and MPI websites.
  • A property affected by fall armyworm near Hokitika was revisited this week. The crop is now at reproductive stage and has recovered well, showing that a timely discovery of the pest is of key importance.
  • ALL South Island maize and sweet corn crops should be scouted as well as ongoing surveillance in the North Island.
  • The insecticide Sparta has been approved for use on maize and sweetcorn crops.
  • We are still in a response. All finds must be reported to MPI here or call 0800 80 99 66.
  • There are no negative consequences to growers for reporting, as this pest will not be controlled by removing crops.

National FAW official data:

As of Friday 20th January, MPI has confirmed 93 finds since 1 September 2022 (up 17 from last week). 12 of these finds have been in the West Coast of the South Island.

There have been no detections in Canterbury or any other regions in the east of the South Island but we are encouraging a high level of vigilance for Canterbury maize and sweetcorn crops, as the models suggest that conditions are now suitable for potential fall armyworm development.

Photo: Maize plants outgrowing fall armyworm damage fifteen days after controlling the initial attack.

The number of fall armyworm moths caught in the response traps in the North Island has increased.

The insecticide Sparta (spinetoram 120g/L) is now on label for use on fall armyworm in maize and sweetcorn crops.

Please contact your local advisor for details on the safe use of this or any other insecticides on maize or sweetcorn.

Thresholds of economic damage:

Plant Health Australia provides useful guidance for this:

For useful tools and guides on detection and identification consult FAR website for the latest identification guides here and MPI Website here or contact Ivan Lawrie