Farm Table says:
This article and case study cover the value of biodiversity to integrated pest management in south-west Victoria and discuss what benefits can be gained from changing from conventional chemical practices to an integrated pest management approach.
Key points were as follows:
- “This case study describes research carried out in south-west Victoria by Southern Farming Systems, a farmer-managed non-profit research and extension organisation, in partnership with 650 farmers and consultant entomologists (IPM Technologies Pty Ltd). The aim was to find out more about local populations of pests and beneficials as a basis for developing an IPM strategy.”
- Integrated pest management can be used in broadacre cropping and grazing enterprises however in south-west Victoria it’s more common to use insecticides to fix an identified problem and these harsh chemicals negatively affect biodiversity.
- Farmers are becoming more interested in integrated pest management in Victoria, reasons for this include:
- The desire to use fewer chemicals on farm
- Concern over insect resistance to chemicals
- Reducing personal risk in using chemicals
- Reducing chemical input costs
- During this case study, farmers discussed pests and insects that are commonly found in the area and the purpose they serve in the environment. They stated that “it was also important for us to appreciate there are two types of beneficial insects and pests –resident insects and transient insects”
- Flightless resident insects live in crops and pasture continuously as they cannot travel long distances.
- Transient insects can fly, travel long distances and inundate areas in population in large numbers.
- Integrated pest management provides financial and economic benefits while improving biodiversity, a strategy that is becoming more popular in the region.