wheat; biocontrol

Wheat farmers must keep eyes open for fall armyworm

It looks like the fall armyworm (FAW) is now developing an appetite for wheat after already causing serious damage to southern African summer crops earlier this year.

The pest (Spodoptera frugiperda) which damaged crops like maize, sweet corn and sorghum was also seen in wheat production areas in Zimbabwe.

Grain SA, the representative body for South African grain producers, warned farmers to be on the lookout for the pest during regular scouting expeditions.

The managing committee for the FAW meets every Wednesday and information will be regularly shared as soon as it comes available.


According to Grain SA, damage caused by the FAW was reported countrywide.

Worm activity is significantly lower with these grains being harvested and lower temperatures.

Even though the FAW seems to have a preference for grain like maize, sweet corn and sorghum, a study by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) shows the worm can also damage spinach, sugarcane, rice, lucerne, sunflower, wheat, cabbage, chili’s, soy, potatoes, pasture and grass.

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