Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses management practices to reduce reliance on chemical control of pests such as insects, slugs and grubs.As a result, better management decisions can be made in the paddock that benefit the health of our local environment, as well as the health of farmers, their families and their neighbours.
The group’s IPM project started in 2014 to raise local awareness of IPM and encourage our farming community to integrate IPM into their farm management. Initially the project was focused on exposing local farmers and agronomists to many aspects of IPM, including the identification of pest and beneficial insects and their behaviour. The group tracked selected paddocks annually, discovering the influence of time of year and seasonal conditions on the activity of both resident and transient beneficial and pest species.
The project then evolved to focus on the collaboration of farmer, agronomist and entomologist. It was important to work with local agronomists who provide management support and advice to many farmers, particularly when pest issues arise in their pastures and crops. The agronomists had direct access to entomologists specialising in IPM who were able to provide valuable information, including confirming identification of a pest, explaining the lifecycle of certain insects, or providing practical advice on acceptable levels of pest populations.
These examples of collaboration leads to better decision-making and management of pests. IPM supports monitoring, use of cultural controls, biological controls and strategic insecticide use if need be, so there is minimum use of insecticides, particularly broad spectrum insecticides.
The UHLMG IPM project is supported by the Glenelg Hopkins CMA with funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Landcare Facilitator Project.