Demonstration of a simple IPM strategy in brassica crops

Funded by: Bayer CropScience and Sumitomo Chemical

Project partner: Biological Services

Project completed: 2012

In this one-year project Paul Horne and Jessica Page developed a simple IPM strategy for brassicas, and then successfully demonstrated the strategy in commercial cauliflower crops at AAA Farms in Werribee South.

The strategy involved introducing a biocontrol agent (a wasp parasite of diamondback moth called Diadegma semiclausum) in artificially high numbers early in the season and then using only a limited number of applications of selective, IPM compatible insecticides. This approach allowed the introduced Diadegma and other naturally occurring biocontrol agents to up and provide an excellent level of pest control. The strategy was applied to all cauliflowers planted at AAA Farms between October and April (over 1 million plants).

The IPM strategy resulted in the same level of pest control as was achieved using a conventional insecticide-based approach on another farm in Werribee South. In both the IPM and conventional crops only 1% of harvested cauliflowers showed diamondback moth damage.  While both strategies were shown to achieve an excellent pest management result, the IPM crop was grown using far less insecticides and AAA Farms were able to save $300-500+ per ha due to reduced chemical inputs.

By minimising the number of applications of group 28 and 23 products, the demonstrated IPM strategy helps to slow the development of pest resistance to these valuable IPM compatible insecticides.

The trial was funded by Bayer CropScience and Sumitomo Chemcial, who produce the selective insecticides used in the trial, and Biological Services came on-board to mass rear the Diadegma wasps for the trial.