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Pear Masterclass Session 1 – IPM for Pears

Pest and Disease Management

Last week saw the first of three online sessions as part of the Pear Masterclass for 2021. 

Angelica Cameron from Bugs for Bugs was joined by Brent Reeve from Jeftomson and Jason Shields from Plunkett’s Orchards to discuss how they have adopted IPM in their orchards.  

Watch the full webinar online here: 

 Register for the next Pear Masterclass session on Eventbrite 

Key points 

  • IPM is a whole-of-system approach that utilises all available options to manage orchard pests 
  • Relies primarily on beneficial biological controls such as predators, parasites and pathogens of pests together with cultural management practices 
  • Pesticides are used as a support tool – a last resort, not the first line of defence.  

Several reasons were presented for why growers choose to adopt an IPM approach including the changing landscape of regulations around use patterns and withdrawal of some pesticide groups around the world. This can affect market access and pest control options in the orchard.  

Other reasons growers may choose IPM include the development of resistance in some pests, worker and environmental safety, consumer preferences and the costs of chemical control.  

Angelica said, “IPM is an approach, not a recipe. Decisions need to be made on each farm, in each block, in each season based on results of regular monitoring for both pests and beneficials.” 

Benefits appear to outweigh costs

Brent said, during monitoring season, they have three scouts working to monitor 750 ha of orchards every second day.  

Similarly, Jason has scouts reporting pest incidence and severity to track management requirements.  

Jason initially looked into IPM to control mealy bugs when sprays were no longer working. Now he doesn’t even consider mealy bug a problem: “I don’t look for mealybugs (well my scouts do),” but he said they are rarely reported as a problem. 

Jason noted, “We have reduced our chemical inputs and costs massively.” 

Brent says while some of the products they use now are more expensive, they are using less of them. He was motivated to introduce IPM because some of the miticides were no longer as effective.   

They introduced beneficials and have modified their spray program so it is compatible with beneficials. This involved replacing some products, and cutting out others.  

From the first year of introducing the approach, they were using one miticide spray on 20 per cent of blocks, but prior to that used up to four sprays on 80 per cent of blocks. He says there is “generally a lot less spraying going on”. 

Best practice IPM approaches include:

  • Conservation and cultural controls – manage the orchard environment to encourage naturally occurring beneficials and maximize the value of any beneficials added 
  • Introduce biological control agents early before pests build up too much 
  • Implement a range of complementary strategies 
  • Monitor regularly for both pests and beneficials 
  • Use pesticides sparingly, wisely and with a clear understanding of any side effects 

Further resources:

Australian Apple and Pear IPDM 

‘Integrated Pest Management Steps forward’, 12 Feb, 2020 

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