Country News

Application technology is ‘missing link’ for pest and disease control

By Jamieson Salter

Fruit growers have been told by industry experts how to be more efficient in their pesticide use at a workshop at Tatura East.

About 55 industry representatives and local growers attended the workshop, held by Bayer and Citrus Australia, at MJ Hall & Sons Orchard on Friday, October 25.

The event featured research experts from Canada and New Zealand who shared their knowledge, along with Simon Lamacraft from Bayer and Citrus Australia agrichemical manager Alison MacGregor.

Mr Lamacraft said the event was a chance for local growers to ask specific questions of experts who they wouldn't normally have the chance to speak with.

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs spray specialist Jason Deveau travelled from Canada to teach growers to have an active role in pesticide use.

Dr Deveau said when growers used the right tools at the right time, they found their efficiency increased.

OMAFRA's Jason Deveau from Canada holds up his comic book guide for growers for the world of spray droplets

He said it was a common misconception to dowse crops rather than use targeted methods in specific seasons.

He said many growers believed if the timing and produce was correct, crops would take care of themselves — which he said was not true.

“Crops need ongoing assessment. There's a few critical things.

“For air blast spraying the air settings need to be adjusted for targeted spraying.

“Growers turn the air off in the wind but it causes inconsistent coverage and then you have to spray again.

“The second step is to use water-sensitive paper which changes colour when spray touches it, to show where it's going."

Dr Deveau said growers could save a lot of money when their crops were protected effectively.

Having a doctorate in physics and no agriculture background, Dr Deveau said he had no preconceived ideas — which helped him to uncover new answers to common questions.

Applied Research and Technologies owner David Manktelow, who works with apple growers and wine groups in New Zealand, also attended the event.

Owner of Applied Research and Technologies David Manktelow from New Zealand focuses on application technology in pest and disease control

Mr Manktelow said application technology was the missing link for pest and disease control.

He said the workshop was an opportunity to collaborate with Mr Lamacraft, Ms MacGregor and Dr Deveau.

“We live in parallel worlds and all have different skill sets,” he said.

The methods suggested by Dr Deveau are available at: sprayers101.com or: growersedge.com