St George growers meet to discuss area-wide SLW management

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On Friday August 10, St George growers and agronomists met to discuss strategies to manage the Silverleaf whitefly population in the irrigation area.
Over the past two seasons, a number of cotton fields in St George have been treated for SLW. Last year more fields were treated earlier, and required a second treatment. It is clear that SLW is now part of the insect pest complex in St George, and it is important that St George growers take the same area-wide approach to managing SLW as has the Emerald irrigation area.
Richard Sequeira (DPI&F entomologist, Emerald) discussed the role of cotton as the main driver of the local SLW population. Tactics discussed that can contribute to minimising SLW outbreaks include narrowing the planting window as much as possible, avoiding the use of broadspectrum insecticides early in the season for other pests (OPs and SPs for mirids and helicoverpa) and the correct timing of SLW control.
Melina Miles (DPI&F entomologist, Toowoomba) discussed the survey data from 06-07 that shows the rate of population growth in St George is very similar to that in Emerald. In contrast, data from the Downs shows that growth is significantly slower and the risk of outbreak on the Downs is low in most seasons. Overall parasitism of SLW was very low in 06-07.
The development and implementation of tactics to manage SLW will be an ongoing process for growers and agronomists in this area. For more details contact Dallas King (Regional Extension Officer, St George 0427 635 621) or Richard Sequeira (Emerald, 49837410).