Agriculture Minister, Joe Helper today thanked Victorians who had helped in the war on locusts by reporting locust activity.
Mr Helper said that since the start of last month there had been more than one thousand reports of locust activity to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
“These reports are vital in helping the Government plan our response to what could be the worst locust plague in 75 years,” Mr Helper said.
“Our field crews are working hard to use these reports to get a complete picture of locust infestation – allowing us to coordinate the best possible treatment.
“In just the last week – since September 29 – our field crews in the Mallee have covered 10,000 kilometres to check locust activity.
“The Brumby Labor Government is investing $43.5 million to fight the war on locusts and we all need to work together to fight this plague.”
Mr Helper said the field teams had been reporting locusts in varying stages of development – sometimes from the same area.
“This means landholders need to be prepared for an extended period of hatchings,” he said.
“It is now even more important that landholders monitor their properties, report any locust activity to DPI and be ready to spray hoppers about two weeks after they hatch.”
Mr Helper said while there were numerous reports of locust hatchings now confirmed, landholders should remember the most effective and efficient time to treat locusts was about two weeks after hatching.
“This timeframe allows for most eggs to hatch and for hoppers to form dense, visible bands on the ground before they can fly,” he said.
The Brumby Labor Government is investing $43.5 million to fight the locust plague including:
- Ordering $4.2 million worth of chemicals to treat 600,000 hectares of public land;
- Providing a 100 per cent rebate for the costs of chemicals for farmers to spray locusts;
- Delivering a $850,000 package to local councils to assist them fight the locust threat;
Declaring the locust an exotic threat which requires landholders to report locust activity and treat locusts on their property;
- Ensuring we have on stand by both fixed-wing planes and helicopters to undertake surveillance and aerial spray where possible; and
- Launching a $2 million community awareness campaign to ensure all Victorians were aware of the locust threat and landholders know what to do to help fight the locust threat.
To report locust activity or for more information call the Locust Hotline on 1300 135 559 or visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/locusts