Pest facts needs intell

Posted in Agronomy alert on Jan 23, 2017

Pestfacts requires regular reports of pest occurrence from agronomists and advisors to be successful. The more reports that are made, the greater the accuracy of the trends that show in pest movements, and biological and environmental forces that may keep them in check. Your contributions are an invaluable resource that benefit the grains industry.

Field intelligence on key pests of crops and pastures in NSW and Victoria

Winter - Spring 2016

PestFacts South-eastern is a web-based communication medium reporting information on the incidence, identification, biology and integrated management of pests in broadacre agriculture across NSW and Victoria. It has now been in operation for 11 years. This advisory service is funded in part by GRDC and other agencies, and supported by growers and farm advisers who report pest occurrences and control difficulties. The service is provided by entomologists at cesar Pty Ltd, in association with the National Pest Information Network.

This biannual publication aims to profile pest trends and issues in crops and pastures for the current season for Government and RDC stakeholders.

  • Overall pest incidence: Slightly fewer pest species (56 pests) were reported to PestFacts in 2016 than in 2015 (62), with the total number of reports also lower (232 compared with 254 in 2015). We attribute this to the cold and wet conditions experienced in winter and spring 2016.
  • Russian wheat aphid: Following the first identification of Russian wheat aphid in South Australia in May 2016, field reports were received from western Victoria through to central NSW. Damage was patchy and aphids readily controlled. Climatic conditions in spring were important in curtailing this pest. Significant yield penalties from RWA were isolated. Localised incursions were mostly associated with early establishment of cereals and/or the presence of cereal volunteers.
  • Prominent pests: Cereal aphids, the herringbone caterpillar (Proteuxoa spp.) and armyworms caused most concern to growers in the post-establishment season. The latter two pests were also prominent in 2015; their numbers are likely to reflect favorable conditions that occurred in inland Australia earlier in the year.
  • Pest anomaly: Exceptionally large numbers of native budworm moths were recorded through a pheromone trap network established across eastern Australia. Despite high numbers, infestations of caterpillars in pulse and oilseed crops were mostly low to modest. This is likely to be a result of the wet, cool conditions in spring. Rain dislodges and effectively kills eggs, which underscores the importance of pest monitoring.
  • Insecticide resistance in the redlegged earth mite is escalating in WA and monitoring has continued throughout NSW, Victoria and SA in 2016. Several reports of chemical control failures in winter crops are being investigated by cesar.
  • Beneficial insects: As observed in 2015, hoverflies were in high abundance and exerted excellent biocontrol of aphids and small caterpillars across many grain and horticultural crops in spring. The greatest challenge for the PestFacts service is to increase the level of regular field reporting to inform pest alerts and advice.

Compiled by Dr Garry McDonald.

For more information, please contact:

  • Dr Paul Umina – Director cesar 0405 464 259
  • Julia Severi – Consultant cesar 03 9349 4723

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