That’s a wrap on the QDAF pest and disease webinar series

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) pest and disease webinar series has now concluded. Recordings of each of the pest and disease webinars are available via the GIA YouTube channel here.

Growers and production staff were invited to attend a total of four online events, aiming to enhance the Australian nursery industry’s biosecurity measures by showcasing new pest and disease contingency plans and relaying new and updated information.

The final two webinars offered key insights and advice on effective alternatives to neonicotinoid insecticides and the effect of climate change on pest populations.

Webinar 3: Effective alternatives to neonicotinoid insecticides for Australian production nurseries

This webinar highlighted a number of alternatives to neonicitinoids available for the management of insect pests in production nurseries. Key topics and takeaways include:

  • Many neonicotinoids have been banned for use in certain regions of the world, mainly because of widespread death or decline of honeybee populations.
  • There are alternative pest management strategies to assist production nurseries fill the gap left by this group of pesticides.
  • These strategies include the use of low risk pesticides (soft on pollinators, predators and parasites), broad spectrum pesticides and biopesticide options. Specific alternatives were provided for common pests that appear on neonicotinoid labels, which included: aphids, leaf and plant hoppers, psyllids, scale insects, sucking insects, stink bugs, whitefly, beetles, fungus gnats and thrips.
  • Understanding the pest life cycle and regular monitoring of susceptible plants to target pesticide applications in timing and host plants, can help to reduce pesticide usage.
  • Cultural management strategies can reduce pest pressure. This could include monitoring incoming stock, selecting resistant/tolerant varieties, removing weeds, encourages natural enemies of pest, discarding unsaleable plants, breaking the life cycle and having specific management plans in place for high risk pest/plant lines.

For more detail, access to full webinar here.

Webinar 4: The effect of climate change on pest populations; a practical approach to pest management for production nurseries in the face of climate variability

The final webinar in this series was all about climate change and how it will affect pest management in production nurseries.

Key takeaways include:

  • Extreme seasonal weather events seem to be on the rise in Australia, which can lead to sudden and unexpected outbreaks of insect pest populations.
  • The industry is becoming increasingly aware of the growing number of exotic pests that pose potential establishment risk in Australia and can have significant impact on certain crop lines.
  • Regular monitoring for pests is the best strategy for mitigating the impact of pests in production nurseries, as it identifies current population levels and potential problems, allowing for more effective intervention and management strategies.
  • Regular monitoring allows the nursery industry to develop and implement a more refined management plan, which identifies resistant/susceptible varieties and sentinel plants and to ascertain seasonal peak pest population times.
  • It is recommended that growers and production staff always monitor incoming stock, to assign greater monitoring effort to high risk plants and seasons. Weekly monitoring is ideal but could be modified based on the pest, season and crop under consideration.

For more detail, access to full webinar here.

In case you missed it, the first two webinars offered key advice for growers on the prevention of disease and sustainable use of fungicides. We’ve shared a wrap on these webinars previously here.

The ‘Building the resilience and on-farm biosecurity capacity of the Australian production nursery industry’ (NY15002) project is funded by Hort Innovation using the nursery industry levy and funds from the Australian Government.