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Ongoing project

Review and extension of avocado pests and their management (AV19001)

Key research provider: IPM Technologies

What’s it all about?

To help avocado growers in adopting effective integrated pest management (IPM), this project is exploring potential barriers to IPM uptake and delivering practical information and resources for incorporating IPM on farm. The goal is to help growers improve productivity by reducing fruit losses, improving fruit quality due to pest damage, and reducing unnecessary pesticide applications.

Following surveys of current grower practices and industry understanding of IPM, the project team is tasked with extending clear information and instruction around IPM through a series of workshops, articles and industry fact sheets. Keep an eye out in industry channels for updates and resources.

The project team reported progress in the following areas:

  • Overall promotion via workshops and forums were delivered on practical and sustainable approaches to pest management which reduce reliance on broad-spectrum pesticides.
  • Presentations at industry events have been delivered at five separate events and spray application workshops have been held at four locations. The planned spray workshop for WA had to be postponed due to interstate travel restrictions but is due to go ahead in mid-April.
  • IPM workshops were modified and adapted to suit online delivery using Zoom. The workshops educated attendees on sustainable pest management by increasing awareness of good farm practices.
  • Presentations at regional forums incorporated the results of the survey conducted in the first stage of the project which allowed for the targeted delivery of relevant information for the specific problems in each region.

Following earlier survey findings, a schedule of workshops and extension activities were planned for this reporting period. However, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, flooding and avocado production times (with growers too busy to attend events during harvest), it was not possible to hold the events as planned.

The team plan to run IPM and spray application workshops and participate in forums during the second half of this year, with dates being set for June through to November. Contingencies are in place to manage continued travel disruptions, including additional or alternative delivery methods.

The team is working closely with Avocados Australia to best engage growers with ongoing communication between all stakeholders to continue.

During the early stages of this project, the team conducted an industry survey to assess current pest management practices, with this now complete and the results analysed.

The results show that a prominent issue facing industry is the reliance on broad-spectrum pesticides targeting Fruit Spotting Bug (FSB) in Queensland and NSW, where it is the main pest of concern.

The survey also revealed that growers and advisors need greater support for how best to make pesticide use decisions utilising monitoring, with improved pest and beneficial identification skills required along with education about pesticide impact on beneficial species and how overuse of some pesticides can make pest problems worse. 

The team will now look to address these findings in the second phase of the project, through extension activities, linking with projects Management of six-spotted mite in WA avocado orchards – phase 2 (AV19002) and Avocado industry development and extension (AV17005), and conducting workshops on IPM and spray application.

The aim of the planned IPM workshops is not only education, but to also develop a collaboration between growers and researchers.

More information about the workshops and resources will be shared via industry channels.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund