AgMemo - Grains news, September 2017

Page last updated: Thursday, 14 September 2017 - 3:53pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

A snapshot of some of the latest news and seasonal advice from the department for Western Australian farm businesses in the grains sector.

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Aphid control app – to spray or not to spray?

Canola growers can now improve their aphid spray applications with a new mobile device app.

MyPestGuide CropScout is an application designed to assist growers, consultants and other field technicians apply spray thresholds for pests in crops.

The free app calculates whether the threshold required to spray for canola aphids has been reached, following a series of crop inspections, and then provides a map of results indicating where to target sprays either between crops or within individual paddocks.

The CropScout app currently includes a module for cabbage and turnip aphids in canola and it will enable grain growers and consultants to make timely, informed decisions about when and where to spray paddocks for pests.

How CropScout works

Canola growers can sample at least four locations around the edge of a paddock to indicate whether or not aphids are present on canola branches while using the app.

If aphid levels are found to be above the threshold, further surveys can be conducted more than 20 meters from the paddock edge to determine if sprays can be targeted to aphids gathered along paddock edges.

The app will tell you whether infestations are above, below or close to the spray threshold.

By following the prompts, users can retrieve a map of results and decide where to target their treatment.

As a result, grain growers can spend less time inspecting crops, have more control over sampling accuracy and use less chemical, which reduces the risk of developing pesticide resistance.

The app is simple to use, while the threshold calculations and GPS accuracy operations run in the application’s background.

When the results are approaching the spray threshold and to provide some foresight, the tool’s indication of ‘above threshold’ is displayed in red, ‘below threshold’ in green and ‘caution’ in orange.

The CropScout app does not need mobile telephone coverage or WiFi to operate in the field, although the mapping interface requires mobile or internet connection.

The data can be uploaded to the user's personal account to view and store results in the department’s CropScout web page or integrated as a spreadsheet on the office computer for record keeping purposes.

It can also record the field name, plant growth stage and notes from each sampling run.

There have already been early reports of canola aphids from the grainbelt, suggesting it could be a busy year for canola growers to control the pests throughout spring.

Aphid damage can lead to seedling death or stunting, tiller or flower abortion and reduced seed set and size, ultimately limiting grain yield.

The CropScout app can be downloaded to Android or iOS devices.

For more information contact Dusty Severtson, Development Officer, South Perth on +61 (0)8 9368 3249.