Integrated pest management in protected cropping

Music The IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management
and it’s a method of controlling pests in a wide range of crops. It involves 3 key components and those are:
cultural controls, biological controls and chemical controls. When developing an IPM program for a crop
there’s a few key points which are very important. The first is to identify the crop that
you’re working with. After this you must identify key pests and
diseases which is specific to this crop. This might vary from region, location,
it could vary if you’re growing indoors or outdoors. Cultural control involves plant selection,
so choosing plant varieties which are resistant to key pests and diseases. It includes quarantine on farm making sure
you’re not bringing in material or people which may have pests or diseases, having adequate
screening on the structure so you’re screening out pests from coming in, making sure
you don’t have alternative hosts for pests, so that’s weeds around the glasshouse
which might attract pests. And on the contrary having plants which will
attract beneficial insects towards your crop. Another key factor is monitoring your crop
regularly and thoroughly. So, that involves walking through the crop
using a hand lens to identify pests. We’re looking for pests but also beneficial insects. It also means that we can tolerate a low level
of pests especially if you have the natural enemies present. Monitoring frequency will depend on
the crop type and time of year. So, if you’re in summer when it’s hot and
there’s lots of pests you might walk the crop twice a week, certain times of year
once a week would be suitable. Biological controls is really using naturally
occurring organisms to help control pests in your crop. This could include applications of bacteria,
viral or fungus sprays, it’s utilising naturally occurring insects and mites
which might come into your crop. It could also include inundation which is
a mass release of beneficials which have been reared in an insectary or inoculation. So, releasing a small amount preventatively
but regularly of an organism which has been reared in an insectary. Rearing of biological controls has been around
for a long time, it’s more advanced in Europe than it is in Australia but we’re quickly catching up. It’s an industry which is growing all the time
and we’re constantly producing new insects for different pests which may occur. If there’s a pest, there’s usually a predator
or a parasite which can control it. So, IPM doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an organic crop. We still do utilise specific chemicals when
it’s necessary instead of using broad spectrum insecticides which will kill
a wide range of pests we only spray for specific pests when it’s required. We try to use a lot of softer chemistry which
isn’t going to have residual effects on beneficial insects. So, the real key is that you’re only targeting
a specific pest if it is present. At this facility they’re growing capsicums,
an IPM program for capsicums needs to cover four key pests at least. Those are: Western flower thrip, Two spotted mite,
Aphids and Whitefly. There’s a number of biocontrols that we utilise
in a capsicum crop. For Western flower thrips we use Orius
which is a predatory bug. It’s important to control Western flower thrip
because they’re a virus vector, they can spread Tomato spotted wilt virus which can easily
wipe out a capsicum crop. For Western flower thrip we use Orius which
is a predatory bug it feeds on all life stages of the thrips and we use Cucumeris which is
a predatory mite and this feeds on thrips’ larvae. Two spotted mite is another serious pest of
capsicums and for this we release Persimilis which is a predatory mite. Aphids can cause issue particularly in the
hotter months and for this we use an inoculative release of Aphidius, it’s a parasitic wasp
which lays its egg in the Aphid, the larvae hatches inside the Aphid, consumes it
from the inside and then emerges from the dead shell of the Aphid. Whitefly can be a pest in some capsicum crops
and we also use an inoculative release for that. It’s another parasitic wasp, we use Encarsia
and Eretmocerus. Other things like Two spotted mite if they’re
in high levels they can cause mass defoliation to the crop and yeah you will have plant death
even in minor levels reduced yield. Yeah, it can be caused by Two spotted mite,
Aphids and Whitefly. Whitefly and Aphids in particular also secrete
honey dew which causes the produce to become sticky and then mould will grow on that honey dew
and yeah, the product becomes unsaleable. Music

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