Improving pest management for the nursery industry (NY17009)
What’s it all about?
Contracted in August 2018, this investment is tasked with helping to improve and inform pest management across the nursery industry. It has a focus on key areas of plant protection including chemical access, structured crop monitoring and integrated pest and management, and is undertaking trials and producing information resources for growers, including information on the economic costs and benefits associated with approaches to pest management.
Since the last update, the project team report that monitoring was completed for each of the seven production nurseries, with data collected and assessed for pest trending analysis.
Monthly crop monitoring summaries were provided to Greenlife Industry Australia to assist in pest trending analysis across the project participants. Monitoring reports with full analysis and detailed recommendations were also provided to the participating production nurseries during each site visit.
COVID-19 continued to impact the project team’s ability to visit some businesses. This was offset by introducing comprehensive co-monitoring processes, supported by staff training and procedures aligned with BioSecure HACCP protocols.
- Participating production nurseries noted that:
- Monitoring led to issues being discovered earlier with more targeted responses for better commercial decisions
- The use of predators instead of a traditional chemical spray was quicker, with access to the treated area not requiring restriction
- Many intend to continue to receive advice, take education opportunities and trial new pest control products after the project concludes.
Financial benefit analysis for implementing IPM to the participating nurseries found that the cost of predators and new ‘soft’ chemicals is significantly higher than traditional chemicals, and while benefits are present, it may take longer than 12 months to maximise (longer than the scope of this project).
Read about the project in NY17009 UPDATE – the value in Integrated Pest Management published on the industry’s Your Levy @ Work website, July 2020.
A crop monitoring trial has begun across key nursery production cropping systems to understand the costs associated with day to day pest management across a range of production nurseries.
Biological Services have been secured to undertake the crop monitoring across seven selected production nurseries, beginning in April 2020. Monthly crop monitoring summaries will be provided to Greenlife Industry Australia to assist with pest trending analysis.
The data captured in the first year of the trial will be representative of the cost of pest management without structured crop monitoring and integrated pest management (IPM) principles in place.
The second year of data will follow the nurseries as they apply IPM principles. This data will then be compared to year one to evaluate the cost-benefit of structured crop monitoring and IPM practices in Australian production nurseries.
The COVID-19 pandemic response may impact crop monitoring services to production nurseries, as well as the operation of some participating production nurseries in the future. This will be dependent on government response to the crisis and will continue to be monitored.
Read an industry update about the project, Implementing effective IPM using BioSecure HACCP procedures, published on the nursery industry’s Your Levy @ Work website.
The project has completed a literature review on neonicotinoids and pesticides that are available to nursery growers. At the time of writing, the review is currently being edited but the final version is expected to be released in March 2019. The purpose of the review is to provide a current understanding of global trends on pest management, including potential alternatives that can be considered by the Australian nursery industry.
The second component of the project is an economic evaluation of an integrated pest management program. Through discussion, the metrics the project will assess have been established such as costs of pesticides and fungicides, labour, throw outs and other key inputs. On-farm reporting templates that will be provided to participating businesses have been developed and seven nursery businesses have been selected to participate in the evaluation. They were selected based on several criteria including location, diversity of crops, production types, capability to collect required data and willingness to support the project over its lifetime.
Next steps for the project involve the project economist visiting each participating business so that they can begin fully capturing their current pest management input costs and data. This process is expected to be completed by the end of March 2019.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Nursery Fund.