Grain growers in northern New South Wales interested in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies can now seek advice from a new insect identification service run by scientists at the University of New England (UNE).
The service is based within UNE’s Insect Ecology Laboratory and is funded by the Grain Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) to specifically aid grain growers located within the GRDC’s Northern Region, which includes northern NSW and adjacent parts of southern Queensland.
In addition to the free pest identification service, the project provides growers with up-to-date information on insect identification, IPM, and the current pest situation through the Sweep Net Web site (www.une.edu.au/sweepnet) and blog (http://blog.une.edu.au/thesweepnet/).
“Through the Web site and blog we will endeavour to keep subscribers up-to-date on pest-related issues,” said Rachel Waugh, Technical Officer in UNE’s Insect Ecology Laboratory. “We also encourage growers to contact us with any relevant information for the region while we develop our network of growers and agronomists.”
The service will also hold a series of workshops in targeted areas around the region to teach growers and agronomists basic DIY insect identification. “Through these workshops we hope to foster a greater awareness of IPM and encourage discussions between growers and consultants around this issue,” Ms Waugh said.
IPM encourages a move away from a sole reliance on pesticides and insecticides by combining a variety of biological, cultural and chemical control techniques. A key strategy is the retention of beneficial insects within cropping systems – pollinators, nutrient cyclers and natural enemies, for instance – through the selective and strategic use of pesticides and insecticides.
For more information on the new insect identification service please contact Rachel Waugh at the UNE Insect Ecology Laboratory on (02) 6773 2338 (e-mail: insect.ID@une.edu.au).
THE PHOTOGRAPH of Rachel Waugh displayed here was taken in the Insect Ecology Laboratory at UNE.