Locusts in bands of up to a kilometre wide have moved into some sections of the pasture and wheat crops in Northern New South Wales, Australia.
SCU Grasshoppers hopping in field (2 shots)
SV PULL BACK TO GV Tractor spraying chemicals
GV AERIAL Helicopter scouting grasshopper locations
SV Helicopter in air as small bi-plane sprays field with insecticide
SV INTERIOR Aircraft: cockpit with pilot and navigator
GV AERIAL Bi-plane spraying chemicals
GV Helicopter hovering over fields and tractor spraying field (2 shots)
WORTH: "At this stage in the north of the State it is believed the majority of grasshoppers have already hatched. Here they're at the hopping stage, but within a week or two the grasshoppers will take to the wing and once they are flaying it's so much harder, and more expensive to kill them. So there's been great urgency to spray the grasshoppers while they're on the ground. The Morie Pastures Protection Board, the Department of Agriculture and local landholders have used huge amounts of insecticides in and near the wheat crops. And not all of the landholders are taking the bother to wear the protective clothing required in handling the insecticide. From the air the pilots sport the grasshoppers as black bands in the fields below. The helicopters aren't taking part in the actual spraying -- they note the location of the grasshopper bands and depending on the size of the find they sport for the spraying to teams working on the ground or they sport for the spraying aircraft if there's larger concentration of hoppers. The Pastures Protection Board here has requested from the State Government more spraying aircraft and more supplies of insecticide. The Board's chairman, Mr. Ross Hunt, says while there's not a critical shortage of insecticide at the moment the Board's stocks are insufficient to cope with large outbreaks. The Board says if it doesn't receive fresh consignments of insecticides soon it could be in trouble. Meanwhile, officer of the Department of Agriculture here are saying they are cautiously optimistic that the grasshopper plague in the north will be controlled."
REPORTER: BOB WORTH
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Background: Locusts in bands of up to a kilometre wide have moved into some sections of the pasture and wheat crops in Northern New South Wales, Australia. Experts say it is the biggest plague to hit the area in more than twenty-five years, and so serious is the threat, that the Army has been called in to try and fight the voracious little insects. The last major locust plague to hit the district was in 1953-54 when farmers were caught unprepared, and as a result, lost millions of dollars worth of crops and pastures. This time they're better prepared, but the situation is still serious. Bob Worth of ABC has more on the story.