Grasshopper invasion ravages Victoria
An idea of the devastation that locusts cause where crops and pastures are green is obtained from a report by Calignan, that on the outfit of Mr. Saxton, a son of the Chief Inspector of Primary Schools, the locusts destroyed 20 tons of the wheat crop in two hours. The official report of this is stated that the winged larvae in swarms passed through the wheat crops, ate the flag, but did not affect the head (or the wheat), and moved to the grasslands ate “in a face”. As the wheat crops ripen or dry out, there is less ganger, but the cops in this district are green.
Another official report from the Bumbang Peninsula, on the Murray, and including the districts of Robin Vale and Annuello, suggested that the locusts were thick and devouring the grass. At Carwarp, the situation is similar. Mr Allnutt, MPP, contacted the commission yesterday from Mildura and said that in one district the locusts covered an area 20 miles long and 6 miles deep. He said rescue teams would be ready to go as soon as the poisoned bait became available.
Protect the vineyards
There is apprehension in official circles for the safety of 300,000 hectares of vines which are beginning to bear fruit in the municipalities of Mildura, Red Cliffs and Merbein. It is estimated that the fruit set is such that if allowed to develop growers will earn £ 1,000,000 in a matter of months. A member of the Closer Settlement Commission, which provides poisoned bait for disaster areas, said yesterday that although the dried fruit areas were not affected, it was expected that even if the larvae did not have not developed wings, the precautionary measures currently adopted would protect the vineyards. They are surrounded by poisoned bait. As an added precaution, a considerable amount of spray material, including lead arsenate, was sent by the commission to Red Cliffs to be added to the sprays soon to be used on the vines to prevent black spots.
Extend south and east
Grasshoppers are dense in the districts of Perlta and Benetook, according to official reports to the commission, and a more intensive campaign is being carried out by volunteers from Mildura. But it was reported that the larvae worked both in the south and in the east, and there is an official fear that the plague could soon spread to Swan Hill and Kerang if not quickly controlled in the larval stage. .
Concern is also felt by the unknown quantity of larvae that exist in the areas of the northwest which are densely populated. There is concern that they will become breeding grounds, especially since there is good grass in the areas. Yesterday 25 scouts were sent to investigate.
A few days ago there was hardly any bran available for bait in Mildura, but stocks are now being replenished. Yesterday, the Closer Settlement Commission acquired 100 tonnes in a country town, and the Railroad Department sent a special engine from a town 30 miles away to deflect the trucks so that 60 tonnes could be shipped to the Mallee early this morning. At present, there is a strong overseas demand for sound. By tomorrow morning, an additional 70 to 80 tonnes of bran, molasses and arsenate of soda will be in the disaster areas for processing into bait. One ton of arsenate of soda will provide bait for 100 miles. The baits are now laid in strips a mile long and seventy chains wide. The commission in the north of the Mallee was declared yesterday to travel 400 to 500 miles on the system currently in use. There is no shortage of materials.