Grains industry unites in tackling pesticide resistance

image of crop protection forum
At the Crop Protection Forum in Moama are Paul Umina, cesar and the University of Melbourne (Victoria), Angela van de Wouw of Marcroft Grains Pathology and the University of Melbourne, Horsham (Victoria), and Melissa Palviainen, BASF, Melbourne. Photo: GRDC

Managing pesticide resistance effectively requires an understanding of the underlying genetic, ecological and environmental factors that can contribute to selection pressures in a pest population.

This was a key message to emerge from the Crop Protection Forum that was recently held in Moama, New South Wales.

The Crop Protection Forum 2019 brought together nearly 100 industry delegates from across Australia to learn about the latest research around insecticide, herbicide and fungicide resistance in the grains industry.

Hosted by cesar, in partnership with the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI), the University of Western Australia, the University of Melbourne and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), speakers at the forum discussed the mechanisms behind the evolution of resistance, current and future resistance trends, and management practices.

“Knowing how best to manage resistance – whether herbicide, insecticide or fungicide – is not always simple,” says cesar scientist Jessica Lye.

“The Crop Protection Forum provides agronomists, advisers and other industry professionals the opportunity to come together and collectively discuss the major issues in the monitoring and management of resistance and as an industry consider effective strategies for minimising resistance risks into the future.”

image of Andrew Carmichael and Greg Condon
Catching up at the Crop Protection Forum are Andrew Carmichael (left), of New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga, and Greg Condon, Grassroots Agronomy and WeedSmart, Wagga Wagga. Photo: GRDC

Speakers presented on a variety of topics relating to insecticide, fungicide and herbicide resistance. Even though management of pesticide resistance can vary, some common themes emerged at the forum.

“Going forward, it is important that we ensure we have resistance monitoring tools for identifying and responding to pesticide resistance,” says Dr Lye.

“Early detection is key to effective management and we would encourage growers and their advisers to make use of the identification services available and ensure they have up-to-date knowledge on resistance risks.”

Attendees were also encouraged to engage with and employ integrated resistance management strategies.

“Chemical rotations, being selective in spraying decisions and adopting non-chemical management practices will contribute to reducing the selection pressures that lead to resistance,” Dr Lye advises.

image of Roberto Busi, Marielle Babinea and Fran Lopez-Ruiz
Discussing the latest research around insecticide, herbicide and fungicide resistance in the grains industry are Roberto Busi (left) from AHRI (Western Australia), Marielle Babinea of cesar in Melbourne (Victoria), and Fran Lopez-Ruiz from the CCDM in WA. Photo: GRDC

Other key messages delivered throughout the forum included:

  • Adopt crop competition strategies for weed control such as reduced row spacing, higher seeding rates or selection of competitive cultivars;
  • Alternate modes of action (MoA) when applying fungicide sprays, never applying Group 3 fungicides twice in a row and ensure that Group 7 and 11 fungicides are not used more than once per season;
  • Reduce selection pressures for insect pests by avoiding prophylactic chemical usage;
  • Mix and rotate herbicides between different MoAs; and
  • Diversify pest control practices wherever possible to ensure use of the whole tactical toolkit when it comes to reducing resistance pressures.

Updated information on insecticide, fungicide and herbicide resistance is available year-round through the Crop Protection Forum partners, cesar, AHRI, CCDM and the GRDC.

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