AGRICULTURAL NEWS - Serious damage to grain fields due to fall armyworm (FAW) infestations has to date been reported in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and northern KwaZulu-Natal in the 2019/2020 production season, according to Dr Gerhard Verdoorn, CropLife SA’s operations and stewardship manager.
Damage due to FAW (Spodoptera frugiperda) had occurred “along a broad band”, including the Badplaas and Carolina areas in Mpumalanga, near Magaliesburg in Gauteng, and as far as Piet Retief in northern KwaZulu-Natal, among other areas.
He called on grain producers to be on the lookout for larvae, especially in the whorl formed by the leaves, as the larvae fed within the whorl. Larger larvae could even “cut” plants off at the base. Mature plants were attacked on reproductive structures.
“I call on producers to send me photos of any insects suspected to be FAW. We have a specialist team on hand to immediately confirm the species,” Verdoorn said.