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Could dogs play a role in battling one of the biggest economic pests to the sugar industry?



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When agronomist Zoe Eagger purchased her labrador Max, the plan was for him simply to be a typical run-of-the-mill farm canine.

However the pup is abandoning his position as a pet and embarking on a brand new profession, which might be a game-changer for cane farmers combating a infamous pest.

Canegrubs is likely to be small, however they’ll trigger extreme injury to sugarcane crops. A rising variety of the native pests have been present in Mackay and the Burdekin area of north Queensland.

“The plan for Max is to assist me in my work detecting canegrubs in cane paddocks,” Ms Eagger stated.

“Canegrubs are an enormous detriment to the trade. It is nothing for a grower to lose a complete crop.”

Agronomist Rob Milla is the supervisor of Burdekin productiveness companies. He agreed that the rise in sightings of the pest was an issue.

Cane grubs
Canegrubs are an issue for a lot of sugarcane farmers in Queensland.(Provided: Sugar Analysis Australia)

He stated that final yr the Burdekin area misplaced nearly 12,500 tons of sugarcane to the grub.

“That is a lack of about $700,000,” Mr Milla stated.

“The rationale we’re a bit involved is [the] growing numbers reported by growers.”

Man in blue work shirt smiles at camera whilst standing in front of cane crop.
Rob Pilla says canegrubs numbers are on the rise.(Provided: Rob Milla)

May canine be the reply?

Ms Eagger did not anticipate her labrador might play a component in a canegrub resolution till she went alongside to a workshop that launched her to “scent coaching”.

Scent coaching entails educating canine to detect sure odours by means of a reward system.