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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 48(12)

Pests of germinating grain crops in southern Australia: an overview of their biology and management options

S. Micic A E, A. A. Hoffmann B, G. Strickland C, A. R. Weeks B, J. Bellati D, K. Henry D, M. A. Nash B, P. A. Umina B

A Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, 444 Albany Highway, Albany, WA 6330, Australia.
B Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Departments of Genetics and Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.
C Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Locked Bag 4, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983, Australia.
D South Australian Research and Development Institute, Entomology Unit, Waite Building, Waite Road,Urrbrae, SA 5064, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: smicic@agric.wa.gov.au
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Grain crops in southern Australia are subject to attack by countless pests, with greater than 40 invertebrate species threatening seedling establishment. Control tactics for crop establishment pests rely heavily on the application of pesticides, especially in canola, which is the most susceptible crop to invertebrate damage. There is genuine interest in integrated pest management (IPM) among growers, but relatively little adoption of classical IPM in broadacre farming in southern Australia. The driving forces behind the lack of adoption are unknown, although over-reliance on broad-spectrum pesticides – which are inexpensive and often applied prophylactically as a means of negating the need to monitor crops – is undoubtedly a key factor. Recent control failures against important pests due to pesticide resistance, increased restrictions on pesticide applications, environmental concerns about pesticide applications and strong support for grain quality assurance programs by exporters, highlight the need to consider IPM principles as a means of reducing chemical inputs. IPM guidelines for broadacre farming systems are limited in scope and there is a need to develop practical management tools that encompass a whole system approach. This paper provides an overview of the main invertebrate pests affecting crop establishment and identifies gaps hindering the wide-scale adoption of IPM.

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