Strategic Pest Management Made Simpler: Introducing the IPM Checklist

Have you ever found yourself wanting to dive into integrated pest management (IPM), but felt unsure where to begin? Or maybe you’re already embracing it, but are eager to pinpoint areas for improvement?

If so, you’re in good company. With growers facing challenges like insecticide resistance and changing chemical regulations, the need for effective pest control solutions has never been more pressing.

Fortunately, for grain producers navigating the complexities of pest control, a new tool is here to support IPM adoption: the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Checklist.

Understanding IPM

At its core, IPM emphasizes proactive measures, staying one step ahead of pests and preventing problems before they become economically damaging.

By using smarter, forward-thinking methods, growers can protect their crops more effectively whilst cutting down on insecticide use- a win-win as pests continue to evolve resistance against traditional chemical controls.

But while the benefits of IPM are clear, actually putting these strategies into practice on farm can be a challenge. It needs careful planning, ongoing monitoring, and quick, adaptable decision-making to keep up with the ever-changing crop conditions.

Enter the IPM checklist—a resource designed to help growers make informed decisions and piece together the puzzle of pest control.

From Problems to Solutions: Why the IPM Checklist works

The IPM checklist is more than just a piece of paper; it’s a roadmap crafted by entomologists and agronomists to reduce the guess work of pest management.

The IPM Checklist

By adopting the IPM Checklist, growers gain access to a structured and strategic approach that promotes:

1. Seasonal Guidance: From paddock preparation to post-harvest evaluation, the IPM Checklist serves as a companion throughout the year and outlines specific activities tailored to each stage of the season.

2. Integrated Approaches: The checklist promotes diverse pest management tactics such as cultural practices, biological controls, and selective chemical treatments only when necessary and appropriate. By leveraging natural enemies and optimizing crop rotations at strategic times, growers can disrupt pest lifecycles effectively.

3. Monitoring and Decision-Making: Emphasizing regular monitoring of pest populations and beneficial insects, the checklist promotes informed decisions based on observed trends and established thresholds, thereby maximizing efficiency and minimizing input costs.

4. Resilience: IPM helps growers to build resilience against pest outbreaks and adapt to changing environmental and regulatory conditions.

5. Reflection and Improvement: Post-season reflection is integral to the IPM Checklist’s approach. By reviewing records of pest observations, management practices, and crop responses, growers can identify successes and areas for improvement. This ongoing learning process drives refinement of pest management strategies.

From Theory to Practice: Tips for Using the IPM Checklist

Ready to take your pest management to the next level? Here are some practical tips to maximize your use of the IPM Checklist:

Familiarize Yourself with the Checklist: Review the IPM Checklist to understand its structure and how each step contributes to pest management.

Assess Your Specific Conditions: Tailor checklist recommendations to fit your local climate, soil type, crop varieties, crop health and historical pest issues.

Use weather forecasts: Monitor weather data to adjust monitoring schedules and implement pre-emptive controls as needed. Weather conditions significantly impact pest activity and impact.

Attend Workshops and Training: Participate in workshops for pest and beneficial insect identification, like those hosted by Cesar Australia and our collaborators.

Use Digital Tools: Explore online pest management resources such as AgPest for real-time information and decision-making support.

Plan with Lifecycle Charts: Use lifecycle charts, like what is available through PestNotes, to time interventions and monitoring to periods when pests are most likely to be active and crops most vulnerable.

Research Insecticide Options: Select insecticides that specifically target the pest species present while minimizing harm to beneficial insects using the Beneficials chemical toxicity table.

Stay Informed on Regional Pest Reports and Resistance Trends: Subscribe to regional newsletters like PestFacts south-eastern and follow researchers, growers and industry bodies on social media for updates on pest activity or resistance trends in your area.

Taking Control

Whether you’re a seasoned pest strategist or just beginning your journey, the IPM Checklist empowers you to take proactive steps towards sustainable pest management.

Learn more about the IPM Checklist and download your copy today!

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Paul Umina for technical contributions to the article.

The IPM Checklist was produced as part of IPMforGrains, a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investment delivered by Cesar Australia, in partnership with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI).

What is Pestfacts south-eastern?

PestFacts south-eastern keeps growers and advisers informed about invertebrate pests and beneficials in broadacre crops and pastures during the winter-cropping season in Victoria and southern New South Wales.

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PestFacts south-eastern is currently supported by the GRDC investment ‘Seasonal status of pests delivered to growers’.

The online PestFacts south-eastern collection also includes a selection of articles published prior to April 2024 when the service was supported by previous GRDC investments, including The National Pest Information Service and IPMforGrains.