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July 30, 2020

First Locust Swarm under Control in Argentina, Two More to Go

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Authorities in Argentina and Paraguay have been battling three different swarms of locust since May and it appears they may now have the upper hand on the first swarm that entered Argentina in early June and is the closest one to the Brazilian border.

During June and early July, the Argentina National Sanitary Service (Senasa) conducted several insecticide applications which partially diminished the swarm. Over the past week, they conducted three more applications last Thursday, Friday, and Monday and they now estimate that they have eliminated 87% of the insects.

Cold temperatures and rain kept the swarm on the ground in eucalyptus tress and orange groves about 10 kilometers from the Uruguay border and 90 kilometers from the Brazilian border when the last applications were conducted. More applications are scheduled over the next few days.

The second swarm of locust are located in a hard to access area in the province of Chaco in northern Argentina. It has been moving in the same direction as the first swarm, but at a slower velocity. It is estimated that the second swarm is twice as large as the first swarm.

A third swarm is located in the central region of the Department of Chaco in Paraguay approximately 200 kilometers from the Argentina border. It is being monitored by the National Vegetative Health and Security Service of Paraguay (Senave) and it is currently about 600 kilometers from the Brazilian border. The grasshopper is the species Schistocerca cancellata, which is the major swarming species in subtropical South America and it is also called the South American Migratory Grasshopper.

Brazilian authorities are monitoring the situation closely along with their Argentina and Paraguay counterparts. Brazil has contracted a fleet of agricultural airplanes should any of the swarms enter Brazilian territory. Winter wheat and fruit crops could be the crops most impacted by the locust.