Locust invasion in the Free State

Sprinkane in Boshof area

19 May 2021

FS Agriculture | Vrystaat Landbou – Media Release

Farmers in the Hertzogville and Boshof area in the Western Free State were greeted by a dark cloud of locusts on 16 May when a large swarm blew over from the Northern Cape.

Dr Jack Armour, commercial manager at Free State Agriculture (FSA), confirms that after liaising with the Department of Agriculture, the local locust control team leaders were confirmed to assist in the relevant areas.

Due to strong winds in the area during 17 and 19 May, the swarm was unfortunately taken further and descended onto the crop lands around Bultfontein where farmers had to move quickly to ensure their crops and those of their neighbours weren’t devoured! This however had huge costs implications and Free State Agriculture (FSA) contributed R60 000 to the cost already undertaken by the farmers to prevent the swarms from moving to other farms.

The control of migratory locusts is governed by the Agricultural Pests Act, 1983 (Act No. 36 of 1983), and administered by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development who have the responsibility to control migratory locusts from their De Aar office. Unfortunately, according to FSA regional representative in the Bultfontein area, André van Rensburg “because an outbreak of locusts has not spread so far into the Free State for 15+ years, the system was not geared to handle the swarms and farmers had to make their own plans. The landowners took up their responsibility to report any outbreaks through a WhatsApp group created by FSA and to assist with control operations.”

Armour goes on to say that the organisation is calling on the public for contributions for further aerial spraying and poison costs to continue spraying in an effort to stop the swarms from moving to other provinces. “FSA will also assist all affected areas to get the necessary training and equipment in collaboration with the Department in preparation for when the eggs laid by these locusts hatch after the spring rains and as a matter of urgency need to be controlled while still in the hopper stage.”

A video, by André Janse van Rensburg: https://youtu.be/U9tjRufM9t4

Sprinkane terroriseer areas in Wes-Vrystaat

Boere in die Hertzogville- en Boshof-omgewing in die Wes-Vrystaat is die afgelope naweek deur ‘n donker sprinkaanwolk begroet toe ‘n groot swerm vanaf die Noord-Kaap oorgewaai het.

Dr Jack Armour, kommersiële bestuurder van Vrystaat Landbou (VL), bevestig dat skakeling met die hoof van die Vrystaatse departement van Landbou, dr TJ Masiteng, en die bestuurder van die Vrystaatse rampbestuur, mnr. Mafa Moqhaka, daartoe gelei het dat die plaaslike spanleiers vir die beheer van sprinkane bevestig is om in die betrokke gebiede te help, aangesien die beheer van migrerende plae onder die departement ressorteer.

Armour adviseer boere om as volg op te tree wanneer swerms gewaar word:

  1. Boere moet die swerms dophou en hul bure in kennis stel in watter rigting die swerm beweeg. Die plaaslike sprinkaanbeampte / spanleier moet ook van ‘n ligging (location pin) en foto voorsien word om hulle op hoogte te hou.
  2. Die ligging moet omstreeks 16:00 aan u plaaslike spanleier / sprinkaanbeampte deurgegee word om die spanne na die area te mobiliseer.
  3. Omstreeks 18:00 – 19:30, wanneer die sprinkane vir die nag gaan lê, moet die GPS-koördinaat van die finale posisie aan die betrokke beampte oorgedra word. Die span sal dan gedurende die nag of vroeg die volgende oggend spuit terwyl die sprinkane stil is.
  4. Waar sprinkane gedurende die nag op die grond gespuit word, word ‘n onttrekkingsperiode van twee weke vir diere aanbeveel.

 

Armour sê dat boere die volgende spanleiers van die sprinkaanbeheer-span kan kontak om in die betrokke gebiede te help:

  • Hennie Groblelaar – 0734455430 – Luckhoff en omliggend
  • Joggie Du Plessis – 0829265660 – Vanderkloof areas
  • George de Vos – 0724954133 – Phillipolis en omliggend

 

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