Insect management support for grain growers

Author: | Date: 16 Apr 2018

Dr Elia Pirtle, a researcher at cesar, says a basic knowledge of the key invertebrate groups is of enormous value when taking those first steps towards correct identification.
Dr Elia Pirtle, a researcher at cesar, says a basic knowledge of the key invertebrate groups is of enormous value when taking those first steps towards correct identification. Photo: cesar

Grain growers and advisers are being provided with insect management support to inform their crop pest control strategies in 2018 and beyond.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has just released an updated version of I SPY, a comprehensive identification manual on insects of southern and western broadacre farming systems of Australia.

I SPY now available online, the manual covers basic taxonomy, important insect groups and identification keys, and descriptions of common species, as well as information on monitoring, integrated pest management (IPM) principles and biosecurity.

The updated manual includes the latest information on cultural, biological and chemical control options for more than 40 pests. This includes the addition of the African black beetle, as well as the Russian wheat aphid which has recently become established in Australia.

The new edition also includes up-to-date information on emerging insecticide resistance issues, and links to new resources regarding resistance management, IPM strategies and economic thresholds.

Manual co-author Dr Paul Umina, of cesar research organisation and the University of Melbourne, says I SPY highlights the importance of insect identification in informing sound and sustainable pest management decision-making by growers and their advisers.

“Correct identification is important for effective control, preventing insecticide misuse and potential increases in incidences of resistance. Incorrect identification can lead to costly mistakes,” Dr Umina says.

The manual was designed and produced through the National Invertebrate Pest Initiative, with input from numerous state agricultural departments, cesar and The University of Melbourne. It aims to:

  • Increase awareness and knowledge of major broadacre pest and beneficial species;
  • Increase the ability of users to identify key invertebrates to order or family level;
  • Increase familiarity with invertebrate lifecycles and biology;
  • Increase familiarity with sampling and monitoring techniques;
  • Improve understanding of pest control principles;
  • Increase awareness of the role of biological and cultural pest control; and
  • Increase awareness of biosecurity and surveillance.

Dr Elia Pirtle, a researcher at cesar who managed the manual’s updates, says a basic knowledge of the key invertebrate groups is of enormous value when taking those first steps towards correct identification.

I SPY is designed to assist in that regard,” Dr Pirtle says. “It acts as a starting point to give growers an indication of what they have and what they can do to manage it.”

With key cropping pests such as diamondback moth, redlegged earth mite, some aphids and several grain storage pest insects developing resistance to various insecticides, the grains industry recognises the need to move towards strategic and alternative control options that better target the pests of concern.

Dr Pirtle says integrating a range of effective and sustainable pest management strategies will remove the reliance on any single method of control in the future.

I SPY outlines management options that can be implemented to assist growers in reducing their reliance on broad-spectrum chemicals for pest control in their cropping systems.”

Contact Details

For Interviews

Paul Umina, cesar
03 9349 4723

Contact

Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
0409 675100