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Australia’s fall armyworm (FAW) knowledge bank has been given a boost through the release of four project reports arising from the latest research and development. Project summaries and the full technical reports are now available to industry, governments and the R&D community through Plant Health Australia’s (PHA) website.

The four projects cover the areas of:

  1. genomic insight of FAW movement in Australia
  2. understanding the key market drivers that will underpin the development of an Insecticide Resistance Management Strategy for FAW
  3. surveying and testing locally occurring insect viruses for use in FAW management, and
  4. rapid real-time simulation of wind-assisted long-ranged dispersal of FAW in Australia.

Following the first detection of FAW in Australia in early 2020, the Australian Government provided a grant to PHA to fill some of the R&D gaps for the management of FAW.

Stuart Kearns, National Manager for Preparedness and RD&E at PHA, said the four projects supported through this work targeted specific gaps in knowledge identified through a National R&D forum.

“PHA hosted a forum, that brought all the stakeholders ‘together’ to help us identify the gaps in our knowledge on how to manage this new pest,” he said.

Held virtually whilst in the grasps of the first of many COVID-19 related lockdowns across the country, entomologists from the various affected states and technical experts from research organisations, governments and affected industries were brought together online to help develop a national management plan and decide on research projects.