Plant health top tips - August: Time to start pre-season planning: Consider your IPM strategies for managing pests and beneficials

With the 2020-21 season approaching, now's the time to be undertaking preseason planning to reflect and consider strategies on how to manage pests and beneficials.

Integrated pest management (IPM) uses knowledge of pest biology, behaviour and ecology to implement a range of integrated tactics to supress and reduce pest outbreaks and reliance on insecticides for their management. IPM supports the long-term management of pests, maintains profitability, reduces the risk of insecticide resistance and minimises risks to human health and the environment.

Plant health top tips - July: Set your field up for the best start with disease resistant varieties

Endemic diseases such as Verticillium and Black root rot can inhibit production and be costly for growers and consultants. Integrated disease management (IDM) strategies are important for controlling and reducing the impact diseases can have on farm. In back-to-back cotton fields, the disease risks are higher, increasing the importance of using a range of IDM strategies such as planting resistant varieties.

Plant health top tips - June: Develop a farm biosecurity plan.

Your farm. Your biosecurity risks. Your farm biosecurity plan.

The best defence against unwanted pests, weeds and diseases is to implement on-farm biosecurity practices. Simple measures and practices built into everyday routines can help protect your farm from the introduction and spread of these pests. Developing a farm biosecurity plan helps growers assess the likelihood of how pests, weeds and diseases could potentially be introduced or spread on farm and decide on the appropriate measures to minimise these risks.

Scouting for silverleaf whitefly (it's like an episode of CSI)

This season, three of the CottonInfo REOs decided to do a deep dive in the life cycle of the silverleaf whitefly (SLW). Andrew McKay (Border Rivers) , Janelle Montgomery (Gwydir, Mungindi)  and Amanda Thomas (Macquarie Valley) donned the white lab coats and pulled in some expert advice from Dr Jamie Hopkinson of QDAF fame. A wise man (Dr Robert Mensah) once said to find the insect, you must think like the insect. With that in mind, the three intrepid explorers headed out into the fields in search of SLW populations... 

Plant health top tips - May: Control volunteer and ratoon cotton plants; and break the green bridge!

Farm hygiene is at the heart of pest and disease management, but it's one of the most under-rated tactics. Maintaining a farm that is free of weeds including volunteer and ratoon cotton plants breaks the green bridge needed for pests and pathogens to overwinter until the following season. These unwanted plants provide a starting population for pests to move quickly into the next crop the following season and increase the chances of pest outbreaks.

Plant health top tips - April: Come Clean Go Clean

Ensure all vehicles, machinery and equipment arriving onto your property are mud and trash free. 

Come Clean. Go Clean is one of the simplest yet most effective ways of minimising the spread of weeds, diseases and pests. With the increased prevalence of glyphosate resistant weeds and the constant threat of pests and diseases, it is important to ensure that all machinery, vehicles and equipment arriving on and leaving farm are mud and trash free.

Plant health top tips - January: Monitor, manage, report

2020 is the UN's International Year of Plant Health. So, each month this year, our Technical Lead for Biosecurity, Sharna Holman, will be bringing you her top tips for your plant health.

For January this tip is: Monitor, manage, report.

Australia’s biosecurity system helps protect us from exotic plant pests and pathogens, however there is always the possibility that exotic pests will enter the country and reach our second line of defence – us.