Citrus researchers, crop advisors, growers and field staff examined sustainable approaches to pest and disease management at a recent workshop at Bindoon.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and industry group WA Citrus hosted the event, attended by growers from northern production areas, while another workshop is planned for the South West in October.
The workshops are part of a four year national Citrus Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) extension program funded by Hort Innovation to facilitate the adoption of strategies to support a profitable and sustainable citrus industry.
DPIRD research scientist Rachelle Johnstone said IPDM uses results from monitoring pests and their natural enemies to implement effective combinations of biological, cultural and chemical control options.
“This approach has been used across Australia over the past 30 years but growers continue to be challenged by increasing consumer demand for blemish free fruit, as well as reduced chemical use,” she said.
“There is increasing interest from citrus growers in using IPDM, in response to a reduction of registered products and the risk of chemical resistance and consumer demand for low input produce.
“This national project joins with other citrus producing States to share knowledge and orchard practices on IPDM strategies and options to assist growers to make changes to their operations.”
A 2022 survey of the knowledge and pest management practices by WA citrus growers will help tailor research activities to suit local orchard systems.
Northern Valley Packers Chief Executive Officer Shane Kay said it was important to learn more about pest identification, which was essential to an effective IPDM program.
“Pests can cause a lot of damage so it’s important to know what is in the orchard and when, to make informed decisions about the most appropriate IPDM strategies,” he said.
“It’s too late when damaged fruit reaches the pack shed, we need to be looking for pests in the orchard and taking the appropriate action before they get to a level where they cost growers significantly.”
An IPDM demonstration site will be established during the project on a commercial citrus orchard to test and evaluate IPDM strategies and applications.
Information from the project will be extended to growers and advisers via workshops, field walks, while fact sheets and videos will be developed and available via the DPIRD website.
Another citrus IPDM workshop will be held in Harvey on Tuesday, 4 October. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
DPIRD and WA Citrus are collaborating with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and IPDM specialists to deliver the Hort Innovation funded Citrus IPDM extension program.
Megan Broad/Katrina Bowers, media liaison
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