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Native budworm update

While native budworm moth activity has been relatively low this season, monitoring for caterpillar activity is still necessary.

Catches in our network of pheromone traps in Victoria and NSW continue to indicate that native budworm moth activity is low (table 1). The difference between 2017 and 2016 has been quite remarkable! This time last year for three consecutive weeks, up to 900 moths/week were caught in the Victorian Mallee and Wimmera. But one key difference between 2016 and 2017 has been rainfall. In 2016, many of the eggs laid during these large moth flights perished due to the wet conditions in late winter and early spring - one of the reasons why these exceptional flights did not eventuate into an onslaught of caterpillar activity.

Looking at recent rainfall activity in 2017, even though moth activity has been light, many of the eggs laid during September and early October have a fighting chance of surviving in the drier than average conditions in much of Victoria and southern NSW. Recent field observations indicate that larvae activity is low, however we encourage agronomists and growers to monitor pulse and canola crops from early-podding regularly using sweep nets. It is important to sample representative parts of the entire paddock prior before making a control decision. Taking an average of larvae caught after multiples of 10 sweeps within at least five locations in a paddock is recommended.

For information on economic thresholds and control options, visit the native budworm PestNote.


Table 1. Weekly counts of native budworm moths caught in pheromone traps in south-east Australia

Thanks to this season’s moth trap operators:

Brad Bennett – AGRIvision (Mallee, VIC)

Jim Cronin – Landmark (Central West Slopes & Plains, NSW)

Adam Dellwo – Elders (Riverina, NSW)

Rob Fox – AGRIvision (Wimmera, VIC)

Bill Gardner – WestVic AgServices (Wimmera, VIC)

Shayn Healy – Crop-Rite Pty. Ltd. (Mallee, VIC)

George Hepburn – Tylers Hardware & Rural Supplies (Wimmera, VIC)

Damian Jones – Irrigated Cropping Council (Mallee, VIC)

Michael Moodie – Moodie Agronomy (Mallee, VIC)

Andrew Rice – ASPIRE agri (Central West Slopes & Plains, NSW)

David White – Delta Agribusiness (Riverina, NSW)

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