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Australia: The impact of pesticides on beneficial species

A strategic levy investment has been gathering information on the impact of pesticides on insects and mites that play a beneficial role in the Australian vegetable industry. To help improve pest management with minimal and appropriate use of insecticides, user-friendly management guides have been developed for vegetable growers and their advisors. Project Lead Jessica Page and Paul Horne from IPM Technologies report.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) involves using biological control agents (beneficials), cultural controls and pesticides in a compatible way. For this to be successful, the integration of beneficials and pesticides is crucial. Instead of relying solely on pesticides to achieve control, having pesticides and beneficials working together will give better results and is more sustainable.

A range of pesticides are available for growers to apply for pests and diseases in their crops. What is needed is information on the relative impact that these products will have on key beneficial species, so that an informed decision can be made on the likely impact if each one is applied. That information has been difficult to obtain or has not existed until very recently.

A strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, Impact of pesticides on beneficial arthropods of importance in Australian vegetable production (VG16067) has now provided much of that information in an easy to understand and use format. The project was a collaboration between IPM Technologies, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the South Australian Research and Development Institute. It was led by Jessica Page.

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