By Emily Crawford, Project Officer, Agriculture Victoria Tatura
Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) is becoming increasingly important to the Australian apple and pear industry for a range of reasons, including maintaining access to domestic and international markets. In response, Agriculture Victoria and Hort Innovation have created a dedicated online Australian Apple and Pear IPDM resource to help growers develop pest-resilient farming systems.
The new webpage provides objective, expert advice from a national team of IPDM experts led by Agriculture Victoria Principal Research Scientist (Invertebrate Sciences) David Williams. David and his specialist team, located throughout Australia, seek to provide practical advice, tools and research information, tailored to Australia’s growing conditions and orchards.
Information resulting from supporting research, usually conducted by the contributing experts, is featured in an easy-to-use format. The team are also developing videos to complement the information.
An ‘Ask the Expert’ function is provided so growers or service providers can question how to implement IPDM, seek assistance in identifying a pest or disease or what to do about it. The questions can be asked online and an expert will respond within a day. Photos of the pest or disease, and the damage symptoms can be uploaded, to help identify the problem.
Grower case studies
Case study orchards with growers using IPDM are underway and progress is being monitored in each state. Growers will be sharing their experience, observations and learnings in monthly updates published on the website.
Important messages from growers so far include:
- We have a lot of tools that generate information, but the suppliers are not always out on the front line. The users (decision makers) need to check this information with good situational awareness to interpret the outputs and advice to suit their context.
- Relax a bit if everything is going well, but do not stop doing things properly, and look after the beneficials that are working in your favour.
- The more chemicals we spray the more damage we do.
- Observation is the key. Get out into the orchard and “listen” to what the trees are telling you. Every time you change the environment you change a lot of things in the system.
The much-valued ‘pocket guide’ (Pests of Pome and Stone Fruit and their Predators and Parasitoids – A pocket Guide) and other tools and resources are also available on the site under the Resources/Useful Tools tab.
The industry guide, ‘Integrated Pest Management for Australian Apples and Pears’ is currently being updated and will be available in 2020.
While the project team are in the early stages of developing the webpage, we welcome any feedback from growers and advisers regarding their IPDM needs. Email your feedback to; firstname.lastname@example.org
IPDM case study orchard
The Smart family at Batlow, NSW, are participating in the IPDM project as a case study orchard.
Each month they work with NSW DPI Development Officer, Kevin Dodds, to monitor their orchard and identify ways to improve their IPDM program.
Reflecting on his mite program in autumn, Jeremy Smart said he had sustained some leaf bronzing in a couple of blocks as mite levels were allowed to reach 80-85 per cent of leaves infested and predator levels around 30 per cent of leaves occupied. In hindsight, he said some of this leaf bronzing could have been avoided by intervening with a miticide earlier when mite levels were at around 70 per cent of leaves infested, but still allowing predators an opportunity to build-up.
For more on the Smart’s case study or to see other IPDM case study orchard reports around the country visit: https://extensionaus.com.au/ozapplepearipdm/case-study-orchards/
Australia-wide IPDM experts working on this project
David Williams – Principal Research Scientist – Invertebrate and Weed Sciences in Agriculture Victoria’s Research Branch, within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR). David is recognised nationally and internationally for his expertise in the development and adoption of IPDM and currently leads the PIPS IPDM project.
Kevin Dodds – Development Officer – Temperate Fruit in NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) based at Tumut. Kevin has worked with temperate fruit industries in NSW since 1990 and gained specific skills in pome fruit IPDM through his work with Dr Colin Bower and Dr Les Penrose from 1990-95 on IPM research and implementation. Kevin’s has developed considerable practical experience in apple IPDM through his establishment of a commercial monitoring service at Batlow.
Alison Mathews – Development Officer with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in Western Australia, based at Manjimup. Alison has over eight years’ experience in horticultural research and extension. Alison has experience developing resistance management strategies through her involvement with research and development of vegetable crops including management of diamondback moth.
Stephen Quarrell – Research Fellow in Entomology at the University of Tasmania and an Affiliate Scientist at CSIRO. Stephen’s research interests include integrated pest management of perennial horticulture crops including the use of biological control agents, insect chemical ecology and using technology to better understand issues regarding honey bee health and behaviour.
Paul James – Research, Development and Grower Technical Services Manager with Lenswood Apples (Lenswood Cooperative), the major producer and marketer of apples grown in South Australia.
Prior to joining Lenswood Apples, Paul spent 28 years as a temperate fruit specialist at the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (PIRSA), specialising in apple and pear production.
Peter Nimmo – Senior Experimentalist with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries at the Applethorpe Research Facility. Peter has over 40 years’ experience in apple pest management research and extension including roles in developing National Guidelines for Integrated Fruit Production (IFP), Apple Dimpling Bug, Adaptation to Climate Change, and Management of Mealybugs. Peter has significant expertise in molecular biology and plant pathology in additional to his skills in entomology.
The website is a key component of an IPDM project (AP16007) funded by Hort Innovation using the Apple and Pear research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government. Agriculture Victoria (Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, DJPR) is delivering the project in collaboration with Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Western Australia Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tasmania’s Institute of Agriculture; and Lenswood Cooperative.