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Native budworm monitoring program draws to a close

Moth activity remains light for native budworm in key cropping regions, while some traps are no longer active as crops ripen.


This season a broad network of pheromone moth traps was established throughout the cropping regions of eastern Australia to monitor native budworm (and to a lesser extent corn earworm). This was made possible through a collaborative effort with agronomists and growers, and colleagues from SARDI and QDAF. In Victoria and southern NSW, this program is drawing to a close for the 2017 winter-cropping season. With crops ripening in the Victorian Mallee, traps in this region will no longer be monitored. The remaining traps in the Victorian Wimmera and NSW Central West Slops and Plains, and the Riverina show very light moth activity (table 1). 

Despite the pheromone trap program ending, we recommend growers continue to monitor pulse and canola crops until they fully mature. In the NSW Riverina, despite low moth activity, 3 – 4 larvae/m2 have been found in some canola crops south of Wagga Wagga. Once pulses and canola have been harvested, some summer crops that remain at risk include lucerne, soybeans, sunflower, safflower, annual medic and clovers, and cotton. 

It is important to keep in mind that the presence of moths in pheromone traps simply means there are moths in the district. The relative numbers of moths in pheromone traps is not a good indicator of the proportion of larvae in the crop, as there are several factors that influence the efficiency of trap catches, as well as egg laying and larval survival within crops.


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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