Hort Innovation has supported a third Apple and Pear industry Productivity, Irrigation, Pests and Soils (PIPS3) program. The PIPS3 Program research effort will place greater emphasis on improving the orchard habitat to support a broader range of beneficial biological control agents to help manage pests, while also increasing the diversity of organisms known to improve soil health.
The PIP3 program encompasses four integrated research projects. A major focus of one of these projects, Strengthening cultural and biological management of pests and diseases in apple and pear orchards, investigates the establishment and performance of the Codling Moth parasitic wasp, Mastrus ridens, in commercial orchards. This important work builds on the outcomes of a previous levy-funded project, Integrated pest and disease management – phase 2.
The research components of the new project include:
- further investigating the biocontrol of Codling Moth and Light Brown Apple Moth using the parasitic wasps, Mastrus ridens and/or Trichogramma spp.;
- demonstrating the impact of cultural and IPDM practises on plant health, and crop yield and quality by establishing conservation biocontrol plots in Victoria and Tasmania; and
- measuring and analysing the effect of orchard biodiversity and health on soil borne and fungal diseases such as root rot and apple scab.
Examples of cultural management practices include the careful selection and establishment of flowering plants native to the local area in inter-row swards. These conservation biocontrol plots will be assessed for their suitability in production systems, their impact on Mastrus ridens and Trichogramma spp. and the broader diversity of generalist predators, as well as tree and soil health.
Research findings will be communicated with clear, practical recommendations and access to experts using proven platforms such as the APAL website, Future Orchards Program, and on this website – the Australian Apple and Pear IPDM website.
The project will also support an IPDM Community of Practice for advisors working in apple and pear IPDM in Australia. This will assist advisors to be more confident to provide IPDM advice to growers by upskilling them in the latest research and providing a mechanism for sharing information and experience on the best ways to implement IPDM.
The project is being funded by Hort Innovation using apple and pear research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government. Agriculture Victoria is the primary research provider, in partnership with the Tasmanian Institute for Agriculture.
Or contact Agriculture Victoria Project Leader Greg Lefoe at [email protected]