15 December 2015
One of the most effective ways of managing an established pest in a crop is to work with other producers in your region to establish an area wide management plan.
Matt McMahon is Field Services Manager for the Batlow Fruit Cooperative. He monitors the number of codling moths and fruit flies for growers in the area.
The cooperative can prove, from the combined effort of years of monitoring records and all growers in the area controlling fruit fly and codling moth, that the area is one of ‘low pest prevalence’.
“The field services section of the cooperative has been operating for 20 or more years. Keeping that record allows us to prove that it’s an area of ‘low pest prevalence’,” said Matt.
“Monitoring records can be sent to the state department, who are the ones who put the official status in place.
“Once an area’s pest status is established, it’s a good idea to continue to record monitoring results to maintain access to markets.
“Codling moth, in particular, results in quite significant down grading in the packhouse. It causes a particularly unsavoury eating experience for consumers if it gets through the grading system. So if we can keep that pest out of the orchard it’s better for all involved.
Surveillance is one of the most important parts of area wide management, because it allows you to control pests more effectively.
“Surveillance is one of the most important parts of area wide management, because it allows you to control pests more effectively.
“Producers have gone away from calendar sprays which is what they did 30 or 40 years ago. So now we only spray when we have to, and the chemistry we use is very specific to the pest we are targeting. This has less effect on beneficial insects that tend to keep pest numbers under control.
“It also keeps costs down if you only spray when you need to.
“Chemical residues are a major concern for consumers so if we can prove that we are using it within safe and effective limits and only applying it when we need to, and in a targeted fashion, that’s better for all involved.”