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Keywords:

  • forecasting;
  • Helicoverpa punctigera;
  • inland Australia;
  • pest management;
  • rainfall

Serious infestations of Helicoverpa punctigera are experienced yearly in the eastern cropping regions of Australia. Regression analysis was used to determine whether the size of the first generation in spring (G1), which is comprised mostly of immigrants from inland Australia, was related to monthly rainfall in inland winter breeding areas. Data from two long series of light-trap catches at Narrabri in New South Wales (NSW) and Turretfield in South Australia (SA) were used in the analyses. The size of G1 at Narrabri in each year was significantly regressed on the amount of rainfall in western Queensland and NSW in May and June. The size of G1 at Turretfield each year was significantly regressed on the amount of rain in May, June and July in western Queensland and NSW and also in the desert of central Western Australia. Low r2 values of the regressions suggest that rainfall data for more sites, as well as biological and other physical factors, such as temperature, evaporation, and prevailing wind systems, may need to be included to improve forecasts of the potential magnitude of the infestations in coastal cropping regions.