Saturday, June 12, 2010

Plague Of Locusts? Blame Rudd

It may seem completely irrational to blame what is expected to be the worst locust plague in decades on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, but I've been reading plenty of Australian tabloid newspaper columnists recently and I've learned utterly irrational blame-gaming matters not a hoot.

It's Kevin Rudd's fault.

From Bloomberg :

The worst locust plague in more than two decades is threatening to strike Australia, the world’s fourth-largest wheat exporter, after rainfall boosted egg-laying by the insects in major crop growing regions.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crops and pastures that are potentially at risk,” Chris Adriaansen, director at the Canberra-based Australian Plague Locust Commission said in an interview by phone.

The forecast plague could cost Victoria’s agriculture sector A$2 billion ($1.7 billion) if left untreated, the state government said today.

“The advice of leading scientists indicates the scale of the coming spring’s outbreak could be as bad as we experienced in 1973 and 1974 when locusts swarmed through much of Victoria,” state premier John Brumby said today in a statement. “Prior to that, the last outbreak of this scale was in 1934, so we could be facing a once-in-a-lifetime locust plague with locusts swarming right across the state.”

Australian farmers have mostly completed planting of winter crops including wheat and canola, with final output depending on favorable weather through the remainder of the year. Aerial pesticide spraying and ground-level controls by agencies and growers is planned to curb the spread of the locusts and reduce damage to crops and pastures, according to the commission

A swarm may contain millions of locusts covering several square kilometers and overnight migrations of as much as several 100 kilometers are not uncommon, it said.

High density swarms, with more than 50 insects in a square meter, can eat 20 metric tons of vegetation a day, according to a South Australian primary industries website.

The Full Story Is Here