Developing and demonstrating IPM in New Zealand forage and seed brassicas

IPM Technologies is just finishing off a project in New Zealand to develop and implement IPM strategies in fodder and seed brassica crops.  The work has been in conjunction with Plant & Food Research who led the project (the main person involved has been Abie Horrocks) and was funded by The Ministry for Primary Industries sustainable farming Fund, The Foundation for Arable Research, Forage Innovations and DuPont.

Fodder brassicas have become increasingly important in New Zealand in recent years because of the growth of the dairy industry there. IPM in fodder brassicas is however a relatively recent development and in this project Paul Horne from IPM Technologies worked with Abie Horrocks to demonstrate in several commercial crops just how it can be done and how it compares to current practice that involves the use of broad-spectrum insecticides.

The project started with IPM workshops for fodder and seed brassica growers and their advisors and initial trials in commercial crops in 2015. A field day was held at the end of the first season at a site where a collaborating farmer had compared a conventional (insecticide spray-based) approach to controlling insect pests with an IPM approach (relying on biological control and fewer, selective insecticides only). The IPM trial was highly successful, giving good control of pests and reduced insecticide applications.  Both farmers and advisors were invited to attend the field day to see the results and discuss the approach taken.

Further trials were conducted on additional farms across New Zealand in 2016, and in February 2017 Paul and Abie ran a series of field days at seven locations (two on the North Island and five on the South Island). These field days were mostly organised by DuPont in collaboration with the farm supply company PGG Wrightsons, and were attended by over 200 growers and agronomists in total.

The outcome of the IPM trials, demonstrations and field days has been a much greater awareness of and confidence in IPM amongst both growers and advisors. There is now a widespread acceptance of the efficacy of IPM in fodder brassica and seed brassica crops across New Zealand and there is increasing adoption of IPM in these crops. An important factor contributing to the rapid uptake of IPM in this case has been the participation of both independent and reseller agronomists, with support from DuPont.