Farmers have been urged to be on the lookout for signs of damage and the presence of fall armyworm larvae in summer crops following the first detection of moths in the Central West.
Central West Local Land Services (LLS) cropping officer Tim Bartimote said two moths were trapped at Dubbo during routine surveillance of the early warning trapping network established by LLS and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
"This is the first detection of fall armyworm in the Central West and serves as a reminder to grain growers throughout the region that they need to be on the lookout for signs of fall armyworm," Mr Bartimote said.
"These signs include windowing of leaves where larvae have hatched and small shot holes as leaves expand, caused by larvae feeding in the developing leaf whorl.
"Fall armyworm larvae are known to feed on more than 350 plant species, particularly maize, cotton, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, as well as vegetable and fruit crops.
"At this stage, the best way to reduce the spread and impact of this pest is to identify the signs and symptoms as early as possible."
Fall armyworm moths have been trapped at various locations across northern NSW, including the Liverpool Plains, east of Narrabri and west of Wee Waa following the first known detection in NSW, near Moree.
Fast action to manage small larvae is recommended by DPI and LLS to maximise control and help minimise further spread by restricting local infestations.
Anyone who suspects the presence of fall armyworm should immediately call the exotic plant pest hotline on 1800 084 881.
In most cases, DPI will be able to identify larvae from clear photographs which can be sent via an online form or to firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details.
For small larvae, DPI and LLS recommend retaining samples with food, such as host crop leaves, and allow them to grow to enable photographs to be taken.
More information on identification, treatment options and resistance management is available on DPI and LLS websites.
Farmers should contact their LLS staff or regular agronomist for advice on fall armyworm management.