Hort Innovation awards Ag Dynamics pistachio project
25 September 2017

Hort Innovation awards Ag Dynamics pistachio project

Understanding and managing insect pests of pistachio orchards

Pistachio orchards in Australia are largely free of damaging insect pests, but the industry is being proactive by assessing what potential pests may be present but are yet to emerge into economically damaging levels.

Ag Dynamics, together with Swan Hill Chemicals have been awarded the project to investigate these potential pests, across orchards in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The project commenced in September 2017 and will run for 2 years.

Information on pest threats will be developed through several methods: assessment of field monitoring data from 2015/16 and 2016/17 from Kyalite and Robinvale; renewed monitoring efforts on these orchards plus a third site most likely near Pinnaroo in South Australia; a desk top research approach; and also by engaging with the pistachio industry to encourage reporting from all growers on any unusual pest activity.

The surveillance work in this project is not a pest scouting programme for each grower. Pest scouting looks mainly for known pests and aims to establish data on abundance and control thresholds. This project instead is looking to cast a wide net and understand the range of insects and mites (both pest and beneficial) likely to impact on Australian orchards. The work of this project may be coordinated with more detailed pest scouting on participating orchards.

The expected outcome from this work will be a more robust understanding of pests (or group of pests) that pose a risk to pistachio production in Australia. This will include any candidate insects or mites found in orchards locally, as well as an assessment of pests with the potential to move into the
orchards. This list will then have a priority assessment, and from this a set of specific and realistic recommendations for future research and development investments by industry and Hort Innovation.

The project has been funded by Hort Innovation using the pistachio research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government. For more information on the fund and strategic levy investment visit horticulure.com.au