The Liberal National Government today announced an assistance scheme to support farmers and rural shires to control Australian plague locusts in high-risk areas this spring.
Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis said a significant level of locust activity was expected across parts of the eastern Wheatbelt and southern agricultural region, which may result in locust bands and loose swarms.
A State Government contribution of $5 per hectare will be made available to eligible landholders in areas predicted to experience widespread high density hatchings.
"The scheme is open to landholders seeking to control locusts in pasture, crop, fallow, greenbelts or where locusts are on public amenities, such as ovals, through spraying with a suitable insecticide," Mr Lewis said.
"Locusts are a pest that we can easily take pre-emptive actions against to ensure they do not further impact our grain growers."
Eligible areas include Ravensthorpe, Jerramungup, Gnowangerup, Lake Grace, Kulin, Yilgarn, Westonia, Mukinbudin and Nungarin shires.
"I understand this is a busy time for grain growers leading into harvest, but I encourage them to monitor their properties and prepare to undertake control to protect their valuable crops and pastures," the Minister said.
"Effective spraying will reduce the number of adult locusts that develop and may swarm and inflict damage in other areas of the State, including horticultural areas. It will also reduce the risk of locust numbers building up into autumn 2017.
"The Department of Agriculture and Food is providing information on locust activity and control options."
Mr Lewis had noted that protracted cold conditions had delayed expected locust hatchings, but activity was expected to intensify as temperatures increased.
Locust activity is also expected to occur in other parts of the southern agricultural region and eastern Wheatbelt. The scheme may be extended to additional shires if department survey teams identify other areas experiencing a high level of activity.
Minister's office - 6552 6400