With temperatures starting to rise, particularly in the
northern parts of Victoria and New South Wales, farmers and land owners are
being urged to monitor their properties and report locust sightings.

Growers in northern Victoria and New South Wales have been on
high alert with eggs beginning to hatch in recent weeks. Before 9am this
morning the Victorian DPI had received 200 calls from Melbourne residents with
sightings in the city’s east.

AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the
interests of over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.

Victorian carrot grower, Phil Lamattina from Lamattina & Sons,
operates on 6000 acres in Robinvale in the north-west of the State, and said; “The
locust threat is real and of huge concern to all growers.”

“Despite the enormous effort by growers to control the pests,
we are bracing for the worst in coming weeks.”

The Lamittinas are all too aware of the potential damage
caused by locusts after losing 100 acres of crops, or roughly 2500 tonnes of
produce, when the pest reached plague proportions in April.

Mr Lamattina said that the greatest threat came from outside
their property on crown land, which has not been protected.

 “We have been spraying
locust hatchings for weeks and attempting to  limit the damage on our farm,” he said.

“Our greatest concern though is that when the locusts began to
spread from crown land and from New South Wales they will begin to destroy our

“Not all nature strips are being controlled, which is a huge
risk factor to growers who have been trying to do the right thing by
controlling locusts on their property.”

AUSVEG spokesperson, William Churchill said; “Growers need to
remain vigilant and regularly monitor their farms and surrounding areas to
ensure that locust hatchings are not being left unsprayed.”

“If growers detect locusts along nature strips they need to
report this to either their local Council or the Australian Plague Hotline by
phoning 1800 635 962.We can all play a part in preventing the spread of locusts
which have the potential to wipe out countless crops across Victoria and NSW,”
said Mr Churchill.

“Let’s hope that growers across the state have taken adequate measures to stop
the threat and that these sightings in metropolitan areas will be isolated,”
said Mr Churchill. 

MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill, Communications
Coordinator, AUSVEG. Phone: (03) 9822 0388,
Mobile : 0411 166 748, Email :