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IPDM in focus: Understanding the non-targeted effects of pesticides

Pest and Disease Management

Increasing implementation of integrated pest and disease management has created greater awareness and understanding of the non-target effects of pesticides. 

Chapter 6 of the IPDM Manual looks at pesticides, resistance management strategies and the effects of pesticides on beneficial species. The chapter presents lists of active ingredients registered for use on apples and pears and, where known, the non-target impacts of those ingredients.

IPDM quick facts – pesticides and the Australian apple and pear industry 

  • Pesticides are important components of any pest, disease and weed management program, but poor choice of product can cause major disruption to IPDM and set off a chain of events that could cause greater economic loss than the target of the initial spray application.  
  • Products containing the same active ingredients may not be registered against the same pests or even for use on the same crops.  
  • Strict regulations and testing regimes are applied to the importation of live organisms as biological control agents.  
  • Fruit growers in Australia should only purchase biocontrol agents from reputable commercial Australian suppliers.  
  • Overseas data on toxicity to beneficials should only be used as an indication of potential issues in Australia, since strains of biological control agents available in Australia may be different to strains used overseas.  
  • The pesticide registration process in Australia requires data on environmental fate, toxicity to bees and a range of environmental indicator species, but reports on impact to biocontrol agents, including generalist predators and parasitoids, is voluntary. Absence of a statement on bee toxicity indicates the product is considered safe to bees, whereas absence of statements regarding biocontrol agents or compatibility with IPDM indicate that no data has been provided.  
  • Tables in Chapter 6 of the IPDM Manual provide ratings based on Australian data where available and/or supplemented by compilations from overseas sources. The ratings indicate potential impacts for inclusion in contingency plans so that monitoring and abatement tactics can be implemented if no suitable IPDM-compatible products are available to deal with a specific pest problem.  
  • Although most specialist biocontrol agents available in Australia were introduced from overseas to control non-native pest species, they may be different strains to those used in other countries and therefore some of the published results of pesticide toxicity testing may not be applicable to strains used in Australia.   

The information in the IPDM manual should be used only as a guide to assist with planning strategies to encourage establishment of biological control agents and generalist predators.  

There are strict regulations governing importation of biological control agents, and fruit growers in Australia should only purchase biological control agents from reputable commercial Australian suppliers. 

The IPDM manual covers: 

  • Introduction to IPDM 
  • Developing an IPDM plan 
  • Key pests and diseases, their activity periods, and monitoring methods 
  • Biosecurity and potential incursions of new pests 
  • Integrated weed management 
  • Pesticides and the Australian apple and pear industry 
  • Pest and disease factsheets.


“Grower and advisor confidence in IPDM could be improved by developing a better understanding of, and gaining experience with, the integration process” Dave Williams, 2020.


Prepared by Mark Hincksman, Agriculture Victoria, using information from the revised Integrated Pest, Disease and Weed Management manual for Australian Apples and Pears (IPDM Manual), authored by David Williams, Oscar Villata and others, published by Hort Innovation, October 2021. A copy of the IPDM Manual can be downloaded for free: 



PIPS 4 Profit Program

The PIPS 4 Profit Program’s Pest and disease management (AP22001) project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the apple and pear research and development levies, contributions from the Australian Government and co-investment from Agriculture Victoria. It is supported regionally by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Pomewest and NSW Department of Primary Industries. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian Horticulture. 


This article was first published in the Autumn 2024 edition of AFG.


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