Home' Grower : November 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- November 2011
Vic strawberry growers
adopting IPM strategies
STRAWBERRY growers in Victoria
have developed a new production
method using an integrated pest
management approach, achieving
an 80 per cent reduction in broad-
spectrum pesticide use in more
than half of all trials.
The research was undertaken by
Horticulture Australia Limited
following an assessment by the
Victorian Strawberry Industry
Development Committee, which
concluded that the damage caused
by insecticide-resistant insects and
mites was threatening the viability
of individual farms and the Victorian
strawberry industry as a whole.
Western flower thrips and two-
spotted mites were a particular
concern for growers, who were no
longer able to deal with them using
a pesticide-based approach.
The new strategy was incredibly
successful, even compared with
other IPM projects worldwide, and
has resulted in better quality fruit
and higher levels of productivity for
The strategy means growers can
now produce a high-value crop with
an unblemished appearance, and
control more than one insecticide-
resistant pest where more
conventional methods have failed.
The strategy uses biological and
cultural controls as the basis for
managing pests, with insecticides
or miticides used only as support
tools (not as the primary control).
The biological control agents
include naturally-occurring and
commercially produced predatory
insects and mites: predatory mites
persimilis, hypoaspis and
cucumeris as the commercially-
produced species, and predatory
thrips (haplothrips), brown
lacewings, damsel bugs, hoverflies
and other predatory mites as the
Control methods were also
undertaken -- removing heavily
infested leaf material, weed
management, grass inter-rows,
using covers, and plant canopy
Chemical control options within the
strategy relied on minimal pesticide
use and use of selective or low-
residual products where available.
As a result, local resellers
reported that sales of Lannate®
and dimethoate, previously the two
mainstays of crop protection in the
industry, were reduced by 80pc.
Because of the successful results
in farms of all sizes, in South
Australia and Vic, the IPM strategy
has the potential to be extended to
other industries, including
vegetables, and a range of crops
where TSM can be a problem.
Details: 02 8295 2379 or
Big navel crop a major challenge
A LARGER than anticipated South Australian
valencia crop represents another marketing
challenge for the industry, according to the
South Australian Citrus Industry Development
Chief executive officer Andrew Green said
citrus industry stakeholders would need to
work closely together to ensure the successful
marketing of 60,000 tonnes of valencias.
"The valencia crop for this year is similar to
the one in 2009-10, however fruit size -- while
highly variable -- is slightly bigger than the
historical average," Mr Green said.
"Better water availability will give growers
the opportunity to improve fruit size for their
markets, while the recent fall in the Australian
dollar and the late navel season in the United
States will help to improve export potential."
Mr Green said that while the valencia
estimate had risen from 50,000 tonnes to
60,000t, the total navel crop estimate was left
unchanged with winter navels at 60,000t and
summer navels at 25,000t.
"SA has harvested just more than 58,000t of
winter navels to date, and just under 13,000t of
summer navels," he said. "Only 12,000t of
summer navels are left."
The mandarin estimate remained unchanged at
27,000t, but that was most likely to be revised
down at a later date, while lemons (6500t),
grapefruit (2000t) and tangelos (6000t) remained
unchanged in the latest crop estimates.
Mr Green said the return to full production
and the relatively high Australian dollar had
brought some significant marketing challenges
for the SA citrus industry this season.
"The response from growers and other
industry sectors has been phenomenal," he
said. "Growers have experienced low prices
but they have been working hard with the
industry and the board to promote their citrus
in domestic markets. This has produced good
results and raised awareness of the quality
and nutrition advantages of local citrus."
Details: Peter Walker 0411 601 315 or Andrew
Green 0418 804 368.
It took two to three years to see the benefits of
compost but there have been definite improvements
in the soil and the vines.
By KAYLEE MAITLAND
AT Wild Fox Wines, the focus is on flavour --
rather than yield -- and grapes are grown in a
carefully managed, natural environment.
Managing director Terry Markou knows that healthy,
nutrient-rich soils are the foundation of the company's
"Getting the soil right is the most important part of
growing," he said.
The only source of irrigation water at site is a highly
saline bore, and water retention in the soil is very low.
The low water-holding capacity of the soil combined
with the saline irrigation water was creating an increas-
ing problem. More salt was going into the soil with
each irrigation, which was frequent because the soil was
not retaining water.
Soil water-holding capacity and irrigation efficiency
had to be improved -- not just to conser ve water, but to
minimise soil salinity and improve the health of the soil.
The company decided to use compost to increase the
level of organic matter in the soil. The organic matter
in compost helps to stimulate microbial activity and
increase the number of pores or spaces in the soil.
This helped improve the water-holding capacity of the
soil so there was less need for irrigation.
Compost was a logical choice because it could provide
the organic matter needed and it fitted with the pro-
Located on the Gawler River, west of the Barossa, the
operation is one of South Australia's oldest certified organ-
ic vineyards. It adheres to strict criteria in the winery and
bottling premises to maintain its organic certification.
Using compost has greatly improved the water-hold-
ing capacity of the soils, but the benefits have extended
far beyond that. Increased water-holding capacity has
improved soil structure, increased vine health and
Since using com-
post, the vines have
and need less fertilis-
er and less sprays for pests and diseases.
It took two to three years to see the benefits of com-
post but there have been definite improvements in the
soil and the vines. Wild Fox has experimented with dif-
ferent types of products and now uses composted quail
manure and rapid raiser in bulk form.
The quail manure is composted by the quail breeder
and also on site. The company has also brought in soil
from a supplier in the Adelaide Hills.
"It's important to get the application rate and timing cor-
rect to get the full benefit of compost," Mr Markou said.
He said it was difficult to put a figure on the value of com-
post to his vineyard but the improved health of the vines
and the soil had resulted in a 10 per cent increase in grape
quality. With low-yielding vines, quality is a primary focus.
Most importantly, the grapes continue to produce
"Better soil conditions produce healthier vines which
reduces the need for sprays and liquid fertilisers," Mr
But he says there is always
room for improvement.
1800 888 114
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