Insect management support available for grain growers

Catch your copy of I SPY to identify the current breed of marauding insects that could lead to loss of grain crops

Grain growers and advisers are being provided with insect management support to inform their crop pest control strategies in 2018 with an updated version of I SPY, a comprehensive identification manual on insects of southern and western broadacre farming systems of Australia.

Now available to view at the manual has descriptions of common species, as well as information on monitoring and integrated pest management (IPM) actions.

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.

This current 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.

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.”