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Ongoing project

Effective fall armyworm pheromone blends for improved monitoring and population estimation in Australia (AS21000)

Key research provider: Macquarie University

What's it all about?

This investment is investigating the geographical variation of the sex pheromone in fall armyworm populations in Australia. This information will assist in optimising pheromone blends in lures for monitoring and mass trapping and application in mating disruption.

The analysis of pheromone blends of Australian populations of fall armyworm will inform the development of regionally effective products that the horticulture industry can adopt to improve surveillance and develop an integrated pest management system involving biological control and cultural practices aimed at reducing the use of chemical pesticides.

Field locations have been secured to run the trials for the project in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Access to sites on commercial properties has been facilitated by regional collaborators in government agencies and local institutions that regularly assist growers. 

The research team has prioritised direct conversations with growers at their properties to inform of the logistics and goals of the project and to emphasise that their engagement and feedback will be critical for the success of the trials. 

Lures and traps for the trials will be distributed by one provider, and all materials will be sent by the provider to all locations in the states and territories. In this way, the project team intend to maintain uniformity on the traps and lures used at each location. The chosen provider has developed novel trap inserts for use in the project and barcode based ID system for traps and inserts. Cervantes Agritech has developed an app for barcode reading and geolocation. 

The project team attended a field day in Bowen organised by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and a Fall Armyworm Management Grower Meeting in Kairi. 

A variation to the original project scope has been approved, with funding provided by Grains and Research Development Corporation to include field sites that were not included in the original proposal. The additional funds will allow testing the efficacy of commercially available lures in Gingin and Geraldton (WA) and Griffith (NSW).