An IPM extension program for the potato and onion industries (MT16009)
What was it all about?
From 2016 to 2022, this investment extended integrated pest management (IPM) practices to onion and potato growers across all major production regions of Australia.
Its core activities focused on supporting growers to adopt IPM on-farm through the delivery of workshops, use of demonstration sites with commercial crops, and the production of materials such as articles, guides and case studies distributed in industry channels.
Field demonstrations allowed people to see how to implement IPM on-farm, with a wide range of industry members involved, including growers, field officers, seed certification officers, independent advisors and agronomists.
The change from using a pesticide-based approach to an IPM approach involves a significant shift in attitude and can be perceived as risky. This project allowed growers and advisors to see that IPM works, is practical, cost-effective and sustainable, so the risk factor is reduced.
Each demonstration region had its own pest species of concern, with specific IPM strategies developed in collaboration with local growers and advisors.
The IPM demonstrations were highly successful, with the project significantly impacting approaches to pest management in potato and onion production over the past five years. The project team estimates that IPM has now become the standard means of controlling pests in potato crops, with the participation of advisors key to this shift.
The Australian potato and onion industries now have a template for adopting IPM practices across all production regions that is flexible enough to adapt to local requirements and changes in pesticide availability.
You can also read more about the project and IPM in these stories:
- A grower profile of Pat Virgara, sharing his experience which led to A beneficial outcome, published on the AUSVEG website in January 2019
- IPM now the way for Dolling Produce, published on page 10 of Onions Australia 2019, tells the story of an onion grower in SA who trialled IPM in year one and then extended it to the entire farm (year three).
- An article written for The Onion Project2019 Annual Magazine (pages 14 and 15) demonstrating the use of IPM in onions.