Friday, September 17, 2010

Locust swarm

"Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) says it will redeploy aircraft to spray a 40 kilometre-wide swarm of locusts spotted in central Queensland. Officers surveyed the area today after sightings around Clermont, north-west of Rockhampton. BQ says the insects are moving south-east towards cropping areas on the Central Highlands. Large-scale spraying was carried out around the state last month amid warnings of a locust plague."
Meanwhile, half a continent away,

"Authorities warn a forecast locust plague could be the biggest in 75 years and may even threaten the Melbourne Cup as the first hatchings are spotted on two regional farms. Landowners are bracing for a spring season that could see billions of the ravenous insects hatch and form gigantic swarms across Victoria, NSW and South Australia. The Victorian government has invested $43 million in fighting the plague, which threatens $2 billion worth of crops.

"This is a war on locusts, I want to be absolutely clear about this," Premier John Brumby told reporters on Thursday. "We're doing everything we can to get on top of this." ..."

A 15-kilometre long bed of locust eggs at Ned's Corner in the state's (Victoria) north-west (above) is being monitored. Photo: John Woudstra, DPI

Things look grim!  The recent spring rains, 88mm last month and nearly 100mm so far in September have provided the right weather conditions for the hatching of subterranean locust beds that occupy a land mass the size of Sweden.

Again, I question if this country should have such a heavy commitment to agriculture in an environment that is basically hostile towards the concept of muuch of our agricultural endeavours and requires massive aerial dousing with chemicals to contain a pest that feeds on artificially created vegetation?

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