Why IPM is important in resistance management

Insecticide resistance is not as top of mind for growers as herbicide resistance in weeds. However, with insecticides, the set of challenges is different, and the alternatives are not as extensive.

“More than 50% of Australian growers are concerned about the rise in insecticide resistance in crops in the next few years,” says Leandro Posteraro, FMC’s insecticide portfolio manager.

He said it’s critical to implement resistance management strategies that can counter the rate of resistance development to ensure sustainable growth for growers.

The challenge is compounded for Australia’s horticultural exporters, whose initial success was built on its clean track record, by pressure from newly established parallel MRL’s and standards being imposed by individual global buyers and supermarkets.

These requirements restrict the number of alternative modes-of-action available to growers and therefore place higher resistance pressure on the remaining group of compliant insecticides.

Mr Posteraro said it is therefore essential to implement an Insecticide Resistance Management strategy – with integrated pest management (IPM) as its cornerstone, to drive a successful and sustainable Australian farming system.

“IPM requires constant crop monitoring and decision-based, targeted, use of insecticides that complement the work of beneficial insects in the crop.

“Techniques such as: damage thresholds; knowledge of the in-crop insect population dynamics; selective control methods – chemical, biological and insect growth regulators; can all play a role in supporting beneficial insects in maintaining an effective, economical, and sustainable crop management strategy.

“As many Australian growers may not be aware of or have not personally experienced insecticide resistance on their farms, they may not appreciate the significance of the risk to their farming business that repeated use of the same crop protection chemistry presents.

“But the evolving expectations of their overseas customers will continue to apply pressure to change practices. A proactive attitude that involves incorporation of IPM will help growers stay ahead of the issue,” Mr Posteraro said.

“Adopting best practice insecticide use will help growers to manage resistance development and provide them with the sustained ability to protect their crop from insect impact, while satisfying their market’s increased expectations.

“A good start would entail an annual review by growers of their pest management strategies to ensure they are keeping pace with these challenges.”

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