Farmers now have access to some nifty computer software to settle their scores with red-legged earth mites in pasture and crops.
James Ridsdill-Smith, chief research scientist at CSIRO Entomology, Perth, said he and technician Celia Pavri discovered that carefully timed mite control in spring prevents the mites producing the over-summer eggs.
With uncontrolled conditions, the following autumn hatching can unleash swarms of mites on delicate crop seedlings and emerging pasture plants.
Spray in spring before eggs
The study found that the most cost-effective means of chemically controlling the pest was to spray mites about two weeks before these eggs are produced in the spring.
CSIRO and the Woolmark Company have bundled the essence of the research into TIMERITE™, a user-friendly information kit that provides farmers with necessary background on the pest and, most importantly, the key to successful mite control: an optimum date for spraying.