Community News

Macadamia growers set to tackle pests and diseases

Macadamia producers will have the latest information on all aspects of protecting their orchard from pests and diseases with the release of the updated Macadamia plant protection guide published by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI). Lead author NSW DPI Macadamia Development Officer, Jeremy Bright said the guide provided information on a range of topics for growers to ensure they get high quality production in a safe way. “Most pests and diseases of macadamia appear during specific growth stages of the crop,” Mr Bright said. “The guide lists the most common pests and diseases that growers should be on the lookout for during a typical growing season. “The recommendations for control are based on a sustainable Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) approach.” Mr Bright said a fundamental aspect of the IPDM strategy is the pesticide or pesticides that are used. “It is important that growers rotate applications so that the pest, disease or weed is not continually exposed to chemicals of the same group, thus reducing the risk of resistance to that chemical,” Mr Bright said. “To be able to stay viable, it is imperative for the macadamia industry to continually search for different management options that will provide sustainable long term control of pests and diseases. “These options can include introducing new biocontrol options, identifying new chemistry that is less residual and more targeted towards the specific pest – rather than broad spectrum, adopting better systems for monitoring and managing trees to be less desirable to pests.” The feature article in this year’s guide is by Dr Femi Akinsanmi, an applied plant pathologist at The University of Queensland, working with the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation. Dr Akinsanmi’s article discusses the requirement for the macadamia industry to develop a more sustainable system involving cultural, chemical and biological considerations. He describes the challenges of an IPDM system and issues that the industry needs to consider when implementing IPDM. The Macadamia plant protection guide can be downloaded on the NSW DPI website