Colorado to Wagga Wagga Russian Wheat Aphid Expert
A world leading authority on Russian wheat aphid (RWA) will visit New South Wales next month to offer his insights into the management of the feared crop pest.
Entomology Professor Frank Peairs from the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State University in the United States, will speak at a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Research Update in Wagga Wagga on February 14 and 15.
RWA were found in southern NSW recently, after first being detected in Australia on a South Australian property last May. They have also now been confirmed in Victoria’s grain growing regions.
Dr Peairs has extension, research and teaching responsibilities in the management of arthropod pests of Colorado field crops. For many years his focus has been the biology and management of RWA and he has published more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles on the crop pest.
“Unfortunately RWA has been expanding its range since the 1970s and has spread to every major wheat producing region in the world,” he said.
“Since its arrival in my home state of Colorado in 1986, it has caused losses of more than US $200 million, but biological control measures have essentially reduced its status, and our last major outbreak was in 2009.
“Crop diversification, modified planting dates and promoting general crop health and vigor are considered important cultural management practices in defeating the aphids.”
Dr Peairs says in addition, long term efficacy data supports the use of chlorpyrifos to control RWA, however, the newer lambda cyhalothrin + thiamethoxam mixtures are equally effective.
“Neonicotinoid seed treatments are effective in our spring grains, but don’t provide season-long protection in winter wheat.
“We released ten winter wheat varieties resistant to the original RWA biotype, however they have all proven susceptible to the currently dominant biotype, so our management now relies on cultural practices and naturally occurring biological controls supported by chlorpyrifos treatments based on scouting.”
GRDC manager grower services – north Sharon O’Keeffe said Dr Peairs presentation will bring great insight into a relatively new problem for NSW growers.
“RWA has a history of successfully invading new regions, partly due to its widely available host plants and capacity for rapid population growth,” she said.
“Aphids could potentially disperse to new areas on contaminated plant material, on machinery and other equipment, or via dispersal of winged adults over large distances by wind assisted flight.
“Given this potential, the GRDC Updates offer growers and agronomists a rare opportunity to hear from a world renowned expert about these options for dealing with RWA going forward.”
Other GRDC Update topics throughout NSW include presentations on agronomic drivers of yield, weed and pest management and herbicide resistance updates, and whether digital ag is living up to the hype.
NSW Updates will be held at Wagga Wagga on February 14-15, Corowa on February 16, Gulargambone on February 27, Dubbo on February 28 and March 1 and Coolamon on March 16. Dr Frank Peairs will also speak to growers at a RWA Forum in Corowa on February 16, directly following the Update.
Event details are available on the GRDC website via this link.
0400 596 978
Ellen McNamara, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
0429 897 129
GRDC Project Code ORM00014