Fall Armyworm May Devastate Te Taitokerau Agricultural Economy

Dec. 23, 2022, noon

Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is an insect pest that has been detected in Te Hiku o Te Ika, and now in the wider Te Taitokerau area.

Northland Regional Councilor, Cr. Geoff Crawford, who chairs the Biosecurity and Biodiversity Working Group says, "The Fall Army Worm is present in Kaitaia and can potentially devastate not only the maize and corn industry but also avocadoes, and other vegetables."

Adult fall armyworm moths are strong flyers and will travel hundreds of kilometers on storm fronts.

Geoff Crawford says, "We need to find a chemical, an insecticide that will control this grub before it turns into a moth and spreads. It can lay up to 200 eggs in a night and the growth can be unbelievable"

Cr. Geoff goes on to say, "we will be demanding a meeting in the Far North, mid-January for growers and other effected people, we will be demanding that the government turn up and some sort of a plan to give us some security... and that we will be working to get this under control somehow."

According to the Ministry of Primary industries, the Fall armyworm (FAW) is thought to have been carried by storm weather from Australia and arrived in New Zealand around February 2022.

Cr. Geoff goes on to say, " Bells Produce are putting kai on the table. Its a huge worry that diary farmers wont have the maize feed for winter, for milk production."

Local framers in Kaitaia understand that the worm can devastate seed & grain crops, and have a significant impact on other crops.

Cr. Geoff encourages everyone to look for signs of FAW, particularly on maize and corn plants.

Tags: Northland Regional Council NRC

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