Locusts threatening food supply across Africa has now also hit the western part of the Free State after a large swarm blew over from the Northern Cape over the weekend.
Free State Agriculture (FSA) says farmers in Hertzogville and Boshof were greeted by a dark cloud of locusts.
The migratory locust outbreak is currently ravaging crops and pastures in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Dr Jack Armour, commercial manager at FSA, confirms a local locust control team were confirmed to assist in relevant areas. Controlling migrating pests is part of the area of responsibility of the Free State department of agriculture.
Armour consulted with, among others, Dr TJ Masiteng, head of the provincial department of agriculture, and Mafa Moqhaka, head of disaster management.
What to do when noticing swarms?
Armour advises farmers to act as follows when noticing swarms:
- Farmers should monitor the swarms and let their neighbours know in which direction it is moving. Also notify the local locust officer or team leader with a cell phone pin drop and photo to keep them updated.
- The location pin must be passed on to the local team leader or locust officer at around 16:00 to get the teams mobilised to that location.
- Between 18:00 and 19:30, when the locusts are settling down for the night, the GPS coordinate or location pin of the final position must be passed onto the relevant officer. They will then spray during the night or early the next morning while the locusts are stationary.
- Where locusts are sprayed on the ground during the night, there is a two-week withdrawal period for animals.
Armour says farmers can contact the following locust control team leaders to assist in the relevant areas:
- Hennie Grobbelaar on 073 445 5430 for Luckhoff and nearby areas;
- Joggie du Plessis on 082 926 5660 for Vanderkloof areas;
- George de Vos on 072 495 4133 for Phillipolis and surrounds; and
- Ronnie Cawood on 082 468 7650 for Ghaap area, Boshof and nearby areas.