Thursday, April 29, 2010

Australia faces huge locust plague

Children run through a cloud of locusts

Farmers across the Australian Outback have been warned of a potential explosion of locusts in the coming months, after a plague of millions of the grasshopper-like insects swept across four states earlier this month.

Millions of the quick-breeding and fast-moving insects have damaged crops and caused havoc in country towns by infesting parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia – covering an area of approximately 500,000 square kilometres (190,000 square miles), roughly the size of Spain.

Hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops of early sown wheat and barley as well as pastures and gardens have been eaten by the “widespread infestation” of the native Australian pests, which break out annually and are the bane of the Australian agriculture industry.

However this year’s outbreak could potentially be worse than the devastating plague of 2004
“It’s been quite a few years since inland Australia has seen such good rainfall,”
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