The constant invasion of Fall Armyworm on maize crops on the Atherton Tablelands has forced some growers to consider moving to other crops.
Kennedy MP, Bob Katter, and Hill MP, Shane Knuth, inspected the damage on Jimmy Isabella and Jason Lea's maize farm near Atherton, with 100 per cent of the crop affected.
Jason Lea said that unless they secured government funding or another way to control the grubs, they would have no choice but to give up on maize and grow something else.
"This is the second year in a row that the Fall Armyworm has come in heavy from a young age. Corn is generally a good crop, nice and easy to grow and you only have to spray it once,"he said.
"Four to five times we have had to spray them with insecticide, just to try and let the bush take its own course and grow cobs and make us our living. It is a lot of hard work, and it's not easy to see your crop being destroyed by the grub.
"These chemicals that are being brought in for these grubs are not cheap either. You're spending $2000 to $3000 a drum and that brings profit margins right down, so now we are going backwards.
"Last year it caught everyone by surprise, and we saw a few farmers get rid of their crops all together and cut their losses, but you've got to stick with it and get in there early and get on top of them otherwise you can completely lose your crop."
Nearby maize farmer Geoff Riesen has also had a major Fall Armyworm infestation and is considering grassing down his farm and running cattle.
Unless they come-up with something it won't be just me, it'll mean a heap of other farmers getting out.- Geoff Riesen, Atherton grower
"Unless they come-up with something it won't be just me, it'll mean a heap of other farmers getting out," he said.
"I'm worried for the future. If we don't get rid of this Fall Armyworm it will be detrimental to all of Australia, not just Far North Queensland.
"I'm not the sort of a farmer that asks for a handout, but they need to try and combat this moth because we are going to lose guys in maize and then we'll lose the dairy farmers, chicken farmers and feedlots because they won't have the silage.
"It will be dearer to buy these products for the consumer. If we don't produce, there will be a shortage of the product in the shops."
Hill MP, Shane Knuth, has labelled the Fall Armyworm spread a national disaster and continues to call on the state and federal governments to provide subsidies for the cost of the spraying.
Kennedy MP, Bob Katter, called for the federal government to assist with subsidies for spraying and consider allowing GM corn into Australia, as well as establish a nationwide crop insurance scheme where farmers pay a 1 per cent levy.
"A one per cent levy on farmers would fund a big pool of money that could be reinvested when crops are taken out," he said.
"Atherton...has the most beautiful soil in the world...but these blokes are left no alternative than to go to suburban subdivision if they don't get the help to battle the Fall Armyworm."
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