Welcome to 2020

Welcome to our first edition of Infopest News for 2020. After a disastrous summer with drought and fires affecting much of our nation, it is good to get some relief with significant rainfalls happening in certain parts. No doubt the next issue to face us will be the weeds growing back! When they do, remember to check Infopest for registered chemicals for spray-use. Weeds aside, let’s hope the rain continues to fall in places it is needed most.
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Chemical updates

Hort Innovation’s project MT17019 – Regulatory Support and Coordination has published their February 2020 Ag Chemical Update with a summary of various regulatory issues and chemical reviews currently underway both locally and internationally.

To read more, click here

Glyphosate ‘not a carcinogen’ says US EPA

Infopest welcomes the findings of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) review on glyphosate that concluded the herbicide is not a carcinogen and poses no risk to human health when used according to its label instructions.

The US EPA released a media statement on 30 January 2020 which reads:

“EPA has concluded its regulatory review of glyphosate—the most widely used herbicide in the United States. After a thorough review of the best available science, as required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA has concluded that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen. These findings on human health risk are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the European Food Safety Authority, and the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The agency is requiring additional mitigation measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays to the intended pest and reduce the problem of increasing glyphosate resistance in weeds.”

To read more, click here

Webinar addresses weed technology in vegetable production

Most new technologies for controlling weeds are positive steps forward for soil health and the environment, and will continue to play an increasingly important role in our fight against herbicide resistant weeds. Chemical application plays a significant part but there are other exciting options being explored to supplement current practices.

Hort Innovation has published a webinar with leading industry experts on some of the most interesting and practical advances in weed management.

The webinar is brought to you by the vegetable R&D levy funded project Building Soil Wealth.

To view the webinar, click here

Adama voluntarily seeks cancellation of methidathion

APVMA has advised that widely used insecticide, methidathion is being cancelled at the request of the holder, Adama Australia. Suprathion 400 EC is registered for use in a number of fruit, nuts, nursery, pastures, vegetables and forestry commodities to control a variety of scales aphids, bugs, caterpillars, mites, mealybugs and hoppers (see label for details ). There are also a number of off-label permits which will be affected by the cancellation.

Please consider wisely any purchases of methidation products to ensure that you do not buy more than you need to use in the next 12 months. Growers have until 4 February 2021 to use current stock.

For details of the cancellation, refer to the APVMA’s gazette. Page 25

Pest watch – Fall Armyworm detection in Torres Strait & Bamaga

Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment announced exotic plant pest, fall armyworm (FAW) had been detected in the Torres Strait.

More recently, we were advised that FAW had also been detected in Bamaga in Far North Queensland. This is the first time that the pest has been detected in Australia.

In late January, seven of the moths were caught in traps on Erub (4) and Saibai (3) islands.

On February 18, another single moth was confirmed found on the mainland in Bamaga.

Biosecurity Queensland will be placing traps with pheromone lures throughout Far North Queensland to to delimit the spread of fall armyworm.

The Queensland Government is convening an urgent industry roundtable to discuss managing the serious threat posed by the exotic pest, which has been detected in Queensland’s far north.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said testing this week is expected to confirm an infestation of Fall armyworm on a farming site in the north west Gulf region, the second detection of the pest on the Queensland mainland.

Fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda ranks 31 on the list for National Priority Plant Pests (2019) by the Department of Agricutlure.

The fall armyworm larva is known to eat more than 350 plant species, many of which are relied upon by humans, with approximately 80 commercially produced crops affected.

It feeds both internally and externally on fruit, the growing point, externally feeding on inflorescence, leaves and stems as well as cutting at the stem base.

According to CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium (ISC): “Destruction of crops can happen almost overnight, because the first stages of a larva’s life require very little food, and the later stages require about 50 times more. Because of this rapid change in food consumption, the presence of larva will not be noticed until they have destroyed almost everything in as little as a night.”

The list of possible food sources for the larvae is extensive. Because the larva eats so much of the plant, they are extremely detrimental to crop survival and yield.

For a list of host plants affected, click here

CABI’s ISC further states “[Spodoptera frugiperda] occurs in two races: a ‘rice strain’ (R strain) and a ‘corn strain’ (C strain) (Lu and Adang, 1996; Lewter et al., 2006; Nagoshi et al., 2007); the former is thought to preferentially feed on rice and various pasture grasses and the latter on maize, cotton and sorghum. The strains are morphologically identical but can be distinguished by molecular techniques.” The strain detected in both Bamaga and Torres Strait is R strain, although hybridization can occur meaning that feeding patterns may not be determined by the suspected preference.”

How to spot a fall armyworm:

Adults are 32mm to 40mm from wingtip to wingtip, with a brown or grey forewing, and a white hindwing

Males have more patterns and a white spot on each forewing

Light-coloured larvae with dark head, become browner as they grow, developing white lengthwise lines and dark spots with spines

The community, industry and agronomists are encouraged to report any unexpected symptoms in the field by phoning the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881

The APVMA has already issued two permits for specific crops and situations to manage fall armyworm:
* PER89169 (enables the use of pheromone traps by state government authorities);
* PER85447 (enables the use of alpha-cypermethrin to control FAW and other lepidoperan pests in maize, sweet corn, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, mungbeans, navey beans, soybeans, sorghum and millet) and

The Australian Department of Agriculture will advise if there are any further detections of this exotic plant pest.

QDAF information here

CABI information here

Optimising harvest yields: preventing soil-borne diseases

Destructive pests such as nematodes, fungi, insects, weeds, and other pathogens can be devastating to a crop. Many common soil-borne issues can be controlled with fumigation. Growcom corporate member, TriCal has advice on leading diseases that need fumigation.

Leading diseases that need fumigation


The most common soil-borne pathogens. While not all fungi cause plant problems, over 8000 species do. Most plants are susceptible to some type of fungus.

Root rot cause the root system to begin to decay. Symptoms may include wilting, yellowing, stunting, dieback and eventual death. Some common root rot fungi include: Pink Root, Charcoal Rot, White Rot, Pythium, Phytophthora, and Rhizoctonia.

Stem, collar, and crown rots have symptoms similar to root rot, but the rotting starts at or above the soil line. Common pathogens to watch out for include: Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia, and Sclerotium.

Wilt pathogens, like Fusarium oxysporum and Verticillium cause wilting of the plants, despite adequate water. Damping-off diseases affect young seedlings. They can be caused by a handful of fungi, including Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and Sclerotium rolfsii.


Examples include Erwinia (soft rot), Rhizomonas (corky root of lettuce), Streptomyces (potato scab, soft rot of sweet potatoes), and Agrobacterium (crown gall).


Nematodes are microscopic unsegmented worms. They are especially problematic for root crops, like carrots, but they can affect many types of crops, from ornamentals to orchard trees. Root knot nematodes cause distortion and swelling of roots and can affect the plant’s vigor. Needle nematodes feed on the tips of roots, causing branching and swelling. Stubby root nematodes cause short, stubby roots. There are many more types of nematodes, including lesion and cyst.


Fumigation controls or suppresses all life stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult) of many destructive insect and other arthropod pests, including garden centipedes and root-feeding beetle larvae.

Fumigation provides a healthy root system for strawberries, melons, nuts, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, tree fruit, potatoes, capsicums, eggplants, flowers, nurseries and more.

Soil is complex and creates a refuge for plant pests, such as insects, weeds, bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. Fumigants are uniquely effective because in their gaseous form they disperse through the soil and reach nearly all the pest organisms in the treated zone. Properly applied fumigants are particularly effective at treating more than one soil-borne problem. Without them, separate chemicals would be necessary. Soil fumigation provides benefits to both consumer and grower. Consumers are able to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables of higher quality at a price they can afford. Growers are able to maximise field usage with shorter crop rotational intervals and greater yields suitable for sale.

Contact TriCal Australia to speak to one of their fumigation experts 08 8347 3838 or visit www.trical.com.au