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Stopping the March of Fall Armyworms (Alabamas Sweep Net Monitoring Program) William "Ken" Kelley, Alabama Cooperative Extension System (175 4-H Ag Science Dr., Suite D, Brewton, AL 36426, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kathy Flanders, Auburn University (201 Extension Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849, email@example.com) Abstract Outcomes and ImpactsFall armyworms had a devastating impact on Alabama livestock Cattlemen changed their behavior by using and forage producers in 2010. Drought conditions and high the sweep nets to scout for fall temperatures provided an optimum environment for the pest to armyworms. The program saved forage do hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to Alabama forage crops. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System and producers of Alabama $800,000 in 2011. the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association worked together to help Each cattleman who used a sweep net keep forage producers informed of armyworm movement and saved an average 60 acres of forage on his management options in 2011 in an effort to keep from farm by finding fall armyworms early, and replicating the disaster of 2010. Sweep nets were purchased by the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association and distributed by the helped an average 1.3 other cattlemen find Alabama Cooperative Extension System. A YouTube video was fall armyworms, resulting in 138 acres filmed to illustrate proper armyworm scouting techniques using saved per sweep net. Program cost was the sweep nets. A timely information sheet was published approximately $7,000, resulting in a return explaining armyworm movements and control, as well as how to use sweep nets. Sweep nets were distributed to numerous cattle of $115 for each dollar of input cost.and forage producers, and to the local county extension offices. Ken Kelley demonstrates proper use of a sweep net.Regional and County agents addressed local and state cattlemen’s groups to inform them of how to use the sweep nets and how to control armyworms if they were detected. A website was created to highlight where armyworms had been located in Activities and Outputsthe state, and a listserv was formed to get the information to as • 140 sweep nets ($30 each) were distributed to County large of an audience as possible. The program proved highly Extension offices and Alabama Cattlemensuccessful, saving the forage producers of Alabama approximately $817,920. • Stakeholders reported when and where fall armyworms had been found in Alabama forages • Alabamaarmyworms@aces.edu e‐mail listserv established to inform stakeholders where and when armyworms had been found in Alabama • Extension agents informed clientele about the sweep net program via group meetings, phone calls, newspaper articles, radio, Facebook or web pages, and direct mail newsletters • The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association kept cattlemen informed of the program and the presence of the fall armyworm using blog posts, Facebook, and direct e‐mails to their mailing list • Interactive map showed which cattlemen had sweep nets, and documented where and when damaging fall armyworm populations were discovered in summer 2011. See Fall armyworms ate the grass in the pasture on the left, then moved into the http://maps.acesag.auburn.edu/Alabama_Armyworm_Watch adjacent pasture. /default.aspx Fall armyworms were first found on July 3 (lightest gold color). By the end of August (red) fall armyworm outbreaks The Situation • YouTube video demonstrating how to look for fall armyworms had been reported in two thirds of Alabamas 67 counties. All too often forage producers discover fall (How to Use a Sweep Net to Find Fall Armyworms, armyworms, Spodoptera frugiperda, after the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71wdf8P33bQ insects have destroyed most of the forage crop. • Two Alabama Cattlemen Magazine Articles explained biology Each year, several million acres of forage in and management of fall armyworms Alabama are vulnerable to attack by fall armyworm, including bermudagrass hayfields, summer forages such as brown‐top millet, and bahiagrass pastures. During the first 10 days of feeding, a fall armyworm caterpillar does not eat much. If fall armyworms can be found during this time, an insecticide application can prevent the damage that they cause. The objective of this program was to show forage producers that they can avoid A fully grown losing forage to fall armyworms by scouting fields fall armyworm Fall armyworms that were found using a sweep net. using a sweep net.