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Australia: Plague of Locusts on Heels of Drought

by James Denison / March 17, 2004 12:23 AM PST
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Locusts have swarmed through the Australian Outback, devastating crops just as farmers had begun recovering from a two-year drought.

Agriculture officials said on Tuesday the insects hatched in northeastern Australia after heavy rains last month. They began migrating south, feeding on newly spouted crops of oats and alfalfa.

"A thick haze of them came through over the weekend and chomped their way through our oats crop overnight," said Bev Dennis from her farm in Tomingley, 340 miles west of Sydney.

The oats were intended for lambs, which have struggled for two years with little green grass as vast tracts of Australia experienced their lowest rainfall in a century.

"We were just staggering out of the drought ? we are incredibly frustrated," Dennis said. "I just kept on thinking..... (more at link)
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