Integrated pest management program for the Australian macadamia industry (various projects from MC16004 to MC16008)
What was it all about?
From 2016 to 2021, this program developed, demonstrated and facilitated the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, to support macadamia growers in having pest-resilient farming systems.
It was made up of multiple, interrelated sub-projects that covered a wide range of topics relating to integrated pest management, including:
- How inter-row vegetation management can influence the presence of beneficial insects in macadamia orchards.
- Various field trials, testing combinations of IPM tools across the orchard, in each of Australia’s macadamia growing regions.
- How insects respond to compounds and odours of interest, with an initial focus on Sigastus weevil (here, laboratory work will ensure that field trials ultimately involve compounds pests detect and are attracted to).
- Growing knowledge of key macadamia pests, as well as beneficials, working towards the development of pest identification and management guides.
- Establishing and maintaining laboratory colonies of pests and biological control agents for use across the program’s work, including behavioural studies investigating pest preferences in relation to food, shapes and colours.
- Working with local advisors, pest consultants and industry development officers to develop and deliver extension activities around the project.
This component examined the major pests in macadamias as well as new and emerging pests. Monitoring was emphasised as the foundation of effective pest management. Cultural and biological controls, such as the integration of inter-rows to increase biodiversity and releasing biological control agents were implemented. In addition, more IPM compatible chemical controls were investigated as well as optimising pesticide use as part of the chemical rotation. Further details can be found in the project’s final report, available here.
This component focused on three areas of investigation: practical application and assessment of pheromone insect traps, isolation and culturing of entomopathogenic fungi for assessment as protectants against insect pests, and economic assessment of emerging IPM scenarios through collaboration with industry benchmarking. Further details can be found in the project’s final report, available here.
This component delivered IPM workshops in major growing regions for growers, industry consultants and pest scouts. Following each workshop, an IPM Technologies entomologist made visits to each growing region to conduct intensive field training with local extension personnel. It also prepared IPM strategies and provided expert extension advice to the other project components to help encourage the use of IPM. Further details can be found in the project’s final report, available here.
This component investigated behavioural and electrophysiological responses to insect pests of macadamia to potential attractive odours. Further details can be found in the project's final report, available here.
This component explored inter-row management in macadamia orchards, finding that where possible, reduced mowing in inter-row spaces can generally increase the presence and diversity of beneficial insects, to help suppress pest populations. Further details can be found in the project’s final report, available here.
These projects were strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Macadamia Fund