Biopesticide approved to combat ‘voracious pest’ in crops
Approval has been granted for the emergency use of a biopesticide to combat fall armyworm (FAW), particularly in Australian crops.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) issued an Emergency Use Permit (EUP) which allowed Fawligen to be used on the invasive pest.
"The swift approval of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' (DAF) application, prepared jointly with AgBiTech - the Australian company that developed and produces Fawligen - is a significant step in the battle against this voracious pest," Mr Furner said.
"Thanks to the APVMA's prompt assessment and approval of DAF's EUP application, valuable time has been gained in the search to find an effective management option for FAW.
"The EUP will allow industry to use Fawligen and for DAF entomologists to expand their important research to assess the effectiveness of Fawligen under Australian conditions."
Mr Furner said Fawligen, a naturally occurring caterpillar virus that targeted FAW, was produced in the United States by AgBiTech.
"Fawligen is a new product in Australia and the broader research made possible by the EUP will be vital in determining how and when to best use it," he said
"Fawligen is a welcome addition to the options available for controlling FAW, particularly in crops, such as sweet corn, maize and sorghum, where currently available options are limited or ineffective.
"Further research and work by industry under the EUP will provide valuable data to help AgBiTech achieve its aim of gaining full Australian registration for Fawligen."
AgBiTech's General Manager for Australia, Philip Armytage, said Fawligen was best used as part of an integrated pest management system.
"Fawligen will work as an important management tool when used in strategic combinations with natural enemies and conventional chemistry options," Mr Armytage said.
"Our information from overseas indicates that Fawligen it is not a strong, stand-alone solution for FAW control and as a result, Fawligen supply will be restricted to growers and consultants who have undertaken accredited training to ensure they are fully aware of the product's abilities and limitations.
"AgBiTech will be providing a training program for farmers, agronomists and researchers who are considering using Fawligen."
Fawligen information and accreditation is available here.