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An overview of integrated pest management (IPM) in north-eastern Australian grain farming systems: past, present and future prospects

H. B. Brier A G , D. A. H. Murray B , L. J. Wilson C , A. H. Nicholas E , M. M. Miles B , P. R. Grundy D and A. J. McLennan F
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, PO Box 23, Kingaroy, Qld 4610, Australia.

B Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, PO Box 102, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

C Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, PO Box 39, Narrabri, NSW 2390, Australia.

D Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Ayr Research Station, Old Clare Road, Ayr, Qld 4807, Australia.

E New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, 4 Marsden Park Road, Calala, NSW 2340, Australia.

F Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries and Mines, PO Box 1346, Katherine, NT 0851, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48(12) 1574-1593
Submitted: 30 May 2008  Accepted: 10 October 2008   Published: 6 November 2008


The authors overview integrated pest management (IPM) in grain crops in north-eastern Australia, which is defined as the area north of latitude 32°S. Major grain crops in this region include the coarse grains (winter and summer cereals), oilseeds and pulses. IPM in these systems is complicated by the diversity of crops, pests, market requirements and cropping environments. In general, the pulse crops are at greatest risk, followed by oilseeds and then by cereal grains. Insecticides remain a key grain pest management tool in north-eastern Australia. IPM in grain crops has benefited considerably through the increased adoption of new, more selective insecticides and biopesticides for many caterpillar pests, in particular Helicoverpa spp. and loopers, and the identification of pest–crop scenarios where spraying is unnecessary (e.g. for most Creontiades spp. populations in soybeans). This has favoured the conservation of natural enemies in north-eastern Australia grain crops, and has arguably assisted in the management of silverleaf whitefly in soybeans in coastal Queensland. However, control of sucking pests and podborers such as Maruca vitrata remains a major challenge for IPM in summer pulses. Because these crops have very low pest-damage tolerances and thresholds, intervention with disruptive insecticides is frequently required, particularly during podfill. The threat posed by silverleaf whitefly demands ongoing multi-pest IPM research, development and extension as this pest can flare under favourable seasonal conditions, especially where disruptive insecticides are used injudiciously. The strong links between researchers and industry have facilitated the adoption of IPM practices in north-eastern Australia and augers well for future pest challenges and for the development and promotion of new and improved IPM tactics.

Additional keywords: area-wide management, bean podborer, corn, Eretmocerus, etiella, Helicoverpa, loopers, mirids, mungbeans, peanuts, podsucking bugs, silverleaf whitefly, soybean aphids, Trichogramma, western flower thrips, wheat.


The concepts described in this paper have benefited from the feedback provided by industry over many years. The authors also acknowledge invaluable RD&E funding and in-kind support from GRDC, CRDC, SPRC, the major grain industry organisations including Pulse Australia, the Australian Mungbean Association, the Australian Oilseeds Federation, the Northern Australian Soybean Industry Association and the Peanut Co. of Australia, and last but not least the numerous growers and consultants who have generously located and provided field trial sites for IPM trials.


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