Wine Industry Newsletter

Pest and disease seminar series recap

In October DPIRD hosted a seminar series on pest and diseases in the Swan Valley, Margaret River and Mt Barker regions. Pest and disease management, sustainable viticulture and chemical resistance are key priority areas identified by the WA wine industry. The seminars were designed to provide a broad range of information to growers and students on key pests and diseases that impact production in WA.  

Pest and disease seminar
Photo: Professor Wayne Wilcox presenting to growers at the Swan Valley seminar.

Professor Wayne Wilcox from Cornell University (USA) was invited to WA to present on his many years of experience on the management and biology of the grapevine diseases; powdery mildew, botrytis and sour rot. Combined, these fungal diseases cost Australian viticulture $128 million in both production losses and costs associated with their control.

Prof Wilcox also presented on his experience on the development of fungicide resistance within vineyard scenarios for different classes of chemical actives and the different pathogens. Continuing on the resistance theme, Andrew Taylor (DPIRD) highlighted the current situation of resistance within Australian populations of botrytis, powdery and downy mildew.

Dr Bob Emmett from RWE Horticultural Pathology Research in Mildura presented integrated pest and disease management information on a number of viticulture related issues with regional focus. These included trunk disease biology and management, mealybugs, light brown apple moth, birds and beneficial insects.

At both the Margaret River and Mt Barker seminars, DPIRD Senior Entomologist Stewart Learmonth presented the most recent information surrounding his many years of working to minimise the impact of garden weevil on viticulture in those regions.

Despite the challenge of covering a large amount of material in a relatively short period of time the feedback from the seminar series was overall positive. Most attendees indicated they picked up new information on the management of pest and diseases that they could implement within their own vineyards.

In total, 97 attendees, ranging from students to industry representatives with many years of experience, participated in the Swan Valley, Margaret River and Mt Barker seminars. The seminars were funded via the Wine Australia Regional Program and supported by Wines of Western Australia. The Swan Valley seminar was also supported by the Grape Growers Association of WA.

If you would like to view the PowerPoint presentations given at the various seminars, they are available on the Wines of WA website under the WA Regional program 2018-19 header.