AgMemo - Grains news, August 2018

Page last updated: Thursday, 16 August 2018 - 4:19pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

New technologies for crop protection

DPIRD research officer Kelly Ryan in the field using one of the department’s diagnostic apps.

Crop protection has become very challenging for growers as the need to monitor larger properties increases.

Recent advancements in technology, and a reduction in costs associated with it,  is leading to the development of online tools and mobile apps that can provide effective and efficient solutions to some of these challenges.

Technology is benefiting growers and consultants in the WA grains industry assisting with rapid and improved detection, diagnostics,  spray decision-support and reporting of insects and diseases.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is at the forefront in developing tools for growers that improve the accuracy and decrease time and money spent on pest and disease diagnosis.

These tools provide better field intelligence to assist growers to control pests and diseases when and where it’s needed and reduce unnecessary spraying and the risk of further development of pesticide resistance.

Some of the apps and tools developed by DPIRD, in collaboration with others, and some of the ways that technology will soon be aiding growers and consultants in the field include:


This has been developed to aid in the decision making process of whether to spray canola aphids or not. It also helps determine whether sprays can be targeted to crop edges or regions, rather than a whole paddock blanket spray.


Designed to assist with bait spreader calibrations. SnapBait is a new app that will be available for free download, by the harvest of 2018.


Developed to assist growers and crop consultants to make smarter decisions on when and how to apply pesticides most efficiently.

Apps to manage Bleckleg and Sclerotinia in canola

BlacklegCM allows you to easily compare fungicide options, variety choice, and options for setting up your paddock. It lets you easily compare any two management options to optimise returns and minimise risk.

A sclerotinia management app is being developed and is scheduled to be released for next year’s cropping season. The app considers the major drivers of sclerotinia, and predicts the maximum, minimum and most likely financial benefits that would result from using foliar fungicides.

PestFax Reporter and MyPestGuide

These apps are both used to report pests to DPIRD but they have different purposes.

PestFax Reporter is an easy surveillance tool for WA crops and pastures.

PestFax Reporter should be used for reporting common and unknown insect pests, diseases, weeds, or other damage in crops and pastures in WA.

MyPestGuide Reporter should be used for reporting any insect, disease, or weed that may potentially be an exotic threat in any habitat in WA 

Mapping rhizoctonia bare patch with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's)

DPIRD research officers, Andrea Hills, Daniel Huberli and Geoff Thomas, have been using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) to map rhizoctonia bare patch in the Esperance area. 

Rapid detection by automated moth traps

Automated traps and sensors can provide real time surveillance for pests and diseases and timely decision support of when and where crop protection practices need to be implemented.

Rapid diagnostics tool for virus risk and early warning  

Using a portable and user-friendly machine that performs a diagnostic method called loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), DPIRD and others have developed and validated a protocol that enables earlier, quicker and cheaper in-field detection of Turnip yellows virus (TuYV; previously communicated as Beet western yellows virus) from leaf material and the vector green peach aphids (GPA) caught in traps. 

More detailed information on the apps and tools available for free download can be found on the department’s website.