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SUSTAINABLE PEST MANAGMENT Integrated Pest Management (IPM) refers to an increasingly popular approach for managing insect pests. It combines biological, cultural and chemical controls for sustainable pest management.


Premium Fresh Tasmania is a family owned and operated business producing high quality fresh vegetables for domestic and export markets. Located in Forth, they grow, harvest, pack and export a range of produce. Their major crops are carrots and onions with about 300ha of each crop grown between Forest and Cressy, primarily by contracted growers. On a smaller scale they also produce brussels sprouts, swedes, shallots and echalions in their own right. Over the 2011/12 season, Premium Fresh trialled an IPM approach for managing insect pests in their brussels sprout crops. Agricultural Manager Jason McNeil has been involved in various IPM extension projects over the past few years and believes IPM is the way forward. “I’ve always been involved and interested in sustainable farming and IPM is obviously a way of moving in that direction and reducing chemical use, which will become more and more of an issue in agriculture, particularly for our company. Our main markets are the supermarkets and they will likely be the ones that drive the change in a way, but I guess if we understand it and have started to implement it, then it will work in our favour.” Jason received support and advice in planning the IPM program from Dr. Paul Horne and Jessica Page from IPM technologies. Their experience in implementing successful IPM programs particularly in brassica’s led Jason to select Brussels sprouts as the trial crop. “It probably was the easiest crop due to Paul and Jessie’s experience, but that also gave us the confidence that we could do it successfully.”

“..I’ve always been involved and interested in sustainable farming and IPM is obviously a way of moving in that direction and reducing chemical use…”

The major pests of brassicas in Tasmania include the White cabbage butterfly (WCB), Diamondback moth (DBM) and aphids. The larvae of the WCB and DBM feed on older and newly forming leaves creating small holes. As they continue to feed and the leaf grows, the holes become much larger and reduce plant productivity. The aphids suck the plant sap causing leaf distortion and poor growth. They can also hide in crevices of the sprouts making them unmarketable even if no damage is caused. Effective control of these pests can be achieved by using beneficial insects, however insecticides are often necessary. It is important to monitor the levels of the pests as well as beneficial activity to determine the need for chemical control. Jason received assistance in monitoring from Serve-Ag and through this learnt the practicalities of monitoring and identifying pests and beneficials at different life stages. There are a good range of IPM friendly chemicals to control these pests, however for the best outcome they need to be accurately applied. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) used to control the caterpillars for example is effective only on small caterpillars. This means Jason needed to be able to identify the eggs prior to hatching to be able to target the chemical early in the insect lifecycle.

Premium Fresh Agricultural Manager Jason McNeil

WHA T’S BEEN ACHIEVED? This season proved a big learning curve for Jason and Premium Fresh. It was their first year growing Brussels sprouts and their first year implementing IPM. It was made more difficult earlier in the season with lots of WCB and DBM issues, however with assistance in monitoring populations of these pests as well as their associated predators and parasitoids they were able to better schedule insecticide applications to use primarily IPM friendly chemicals. The monitoring allowed them to make more informed pest management decisions rather than a scheduled insecticide program which would have been the likely alternative.

Brussels sprout crop at Forth, ready for harvest

W H O WA S I N V O L V E D ? In 2010, an introductory IPM workshop series was funded by the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program and hosted by Cradle Coast NRM. The project was organised by Serve-Ag and delivered by Dr. Paul Horne and Jessica Page of IPM Technologies. The following year the program provided funding to support three farmers to implement IPM on their properties. Jason applied to be involved and through this project received on farm expert advice and support from IPM technologies as well as local support and monitoring assistance from Rebecca Clarkson (Serve-Ag).

WHA T’S NEXT? Jason intends to continue using the IPM approach in their sprouts for the coming season. Over time they would like to gradually introduce an IPM program for all of their crops, which is the ultimate goal. By successfully having attempted IPM in one crop it has given Jason the confidence to continue using it.

WA N T T O K N O W M O R E ?

Young sprout seeding with caterpillar damage

Further information on project activities can be obtained from Cradle Coast NRM, Serve-Ag or IPM Technologies. To learn more about IPM and how you could implement IPM on your property, visit the IPM Technologies website (www.ipmtechnologies.com.au) or refer to the following books authored by Paul Horne and Jessica Page: Integrated Pest Management for Crops and Pastures (2008) and Controlling Invertebrate Pests in Agriculture (2012).


This case study was collated by Serve-Ag for Cradle Coast NRM

This case study relates to the following Cradle Coast NRM program outcome: The knowledge gained and changes implemented by farmers through the IPM project ensures the proper and appropriate application of insecticides protecting biological diversity for healthy, productive landscapes in the region. The Cradle Coast regional NRM strategy can be found online at www.cradlecoastnrm.com

PO Box 338 30 Marine Terrace Burnie Tasmania 7320 Phone: 03 6431 6285 Fax: 03 6431 7014 E-mail: nrm@cradlecoast.com www.cradlecoastnrm.com.

Profile for Cradle Coast Authority

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