Case Study Update: Yarra Valley – combining RIMPRO with MetEye and strategic release of predatory mites

Grower name: David Finger
Location: Yarra Junction, Victoria
What are the main IPDM issues being focussed on? Main concerns are black spot and codling moth but mites, birds, heliothis, kangaroos and fruit bats are becoming issues.
What are you doing currently with IPDM? I am using RIMPRO to guide my spray timing for black spot and codling moth.

I have a staff member dedicated to scouting the orchard.

Last season I was disappointed with performance of predatory mites despite having released a range of predatory mites for control of my mite complex (I have TSM, ERM, and bryobia as pests).

Aphelinus mali is present in good numbers so I am trying to restrict insecticide use and to use ‘softer’ products where possible.

I maintain a weed-free tree-line but don’t worry too much about weeds in the inter-row because I root-prune to control vigour, which means that the weeds are probably not competing with the trees. When I do mow I use a narrow mulching mower that leaves some weeds at the edges to support predators.

What has worked well? What hasn’t? Combining RIMPRO with MetEye provides extra weather data, such as wind speed, including 7 day forecasts that help with planning orchard operations (especially spray applications).

The recent training workshop confirmed that my IPDM program is working.

What would you do differently next time? I am going to try to reduce the use of Altacor, consider the use of Vertimec early, more strategic release of predatory mites, and then try to track the impact.
Any interesting learnings? Too early in the season to say much.

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