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More armyworms

We have identified armyworms for consultant, Matt McLoughlan (JSA Independent), who has found them causing damage to a wheat crop and a barley crop near Warracknabeal, in the Wimmera district of Victoria. Damage was evident in the barley crop in a patch confined to clay soil, and typical armyworm chewing damage was also present on some wheat plants. Both crops are at the 3-4 leaf stage. Armyworms have also been reported by agronomist, Ben Batters (Elders), from a Barley crop at Charlton, in the Wimmera district of Victoria. Ben says the damage consisted of parts chewed from some leaves, and some plants cut off at ground level.  

Armyworms (Family: Noctuidae) have three parallel white stripes running from the ‘collar’ behind the head, along the body to the tail end. They are normally most damaging toward the end of spring when crops are close to harvest. This is because they chew through the last remaining green part of the plant stems (just below the head), causing the heads to fall. However, in some seasons a winter generation occurs which can cause significant damage to young crops. Where warranted, treatment for armyworms should ideally be carried out in the late afternoon or early evening, as many species are nocturnal feeders.

Click here for images of armyworms and refer to PestFacts Issue No. 6 for more information.

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