VIDEO: Pastures destroyed by grasshopper ‘plague’
A scourge of grasshoppers is devastating pastures in Winton, a problem reportedly getting worse each year.
Winton Shire councillor Anne Seymour said “at least half” of the shire had been affected in just the past two months.
“People are getting the grass up and then a couple of days later it’s gone because of the grasshopper plague,” she said.
“They’ve been here for about 3 to 4 years. It’s getting worse.
“The larvae is in the ground and they eat everything in their path.”
She said although Winton had a “really good start” this year in terms of rain, pastures were being completely wiped out.
“They absolutely exterminate,” she said.
The council is conducting an online survey to more accurately determine the extent and severity of the problem.
Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar said the outbreak was in “plague proportions”.
“Unless we see some crop dusting with insecticide to contain it, the insects will move across the west with devastating effect,” he said.
He said rain out west was “by no means drought-breaking, but it had given hope to producers and communities after eight years of drought.
“To see the emerging pasture devoured by grasshoppers when it is needed so desperately to take livestock through the winter dry is just a tragedy.”
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the State Government was working with producers and councils across the state to manage grasshoppers.
“A working group has been formed with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Biosecurity Queensland, AgriScience Queensland, and the Australian Plague Locust Commission,” he said.
“The Department has a range of staff involved in the grasshopper issue, however, the exact number can vary depending on seasonal and other factors.”
He said the DAF would conduct its own grasshopper impact survey in coming weeks, to be made available on the Futurebeef website.
“Landholders are encouraged to record their observations of the distribution and impacts of grasshoppers to allow an accurate estimate of economic impacts,” Mr Furner said.