SOME farmers west of Cobar have been holding off sowing crops in fear of losing their investments to locusts.
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It's a dilemma that may be averted if sightings of any size and movement are reported.
Western Local Land Services senior biosecurity officer and emergency management coordinator, Robynne Wells-Budd, said she had reports of locusts present on properties in the Cobar, Nymagee and Hermidale areas.
"I live at Hermidale and we've got them on my property," she said.
"We need landholders to monitor and notify us.
"It's all about being prepared and that's what Emergency Management is about."
PPRR - Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Recovery.
"When landholders see some, catch a few, take a picture of them, send photos to me, or stick them in a bag and freeze them and when I can I will pick them up," Ms Wells-Budd said.
"One guy put them in his mailbox and I picked them up while passing.
"I then put a report to Department of Primary Industries and the Australian Plague Locust Commission so that everyone is aware of what's going on.
"And that gives us a bit of an idea of what the potential is for the coming spring."
Ms Wells-Budd said she had heard reports at Hermidale one farmer had some test drilling while others had seen matings.
"Some haven't long been out of the ground," she said.
"But reports are not consistent and that's a little bit concerning.
"Our biggest issue is of farmers around Cobar who have postponed planting.
"One postponed sowing for 10 days because he didn't want locusts eating his crop as it sprouted.
Ms Wells-Budd said another was concerned because he had his whole oats crop eaten out in 2010 and lost his crop overnight.
"Landholders play a critical role in reporting sightings and all biosecurity staff in Western LLS have their ipads so they can report instantly to the DPI.
"Some rain and cooler weather is coming, but if it stays relatively warm we could find more activity and we need to know where egg beds are so we have an idea where swarms may start to spread in spring."
Locusts have also been reported in medium densities from Nyngan to Coonamble in early April and Central West, Far West and Riverina regions.
Landholders can contact their nearest biosecurity officer by completing an online enquiry form on the LLS website or by calling 1300 795 299.
They are also encouraged to visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/locusts
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