In our final issue for 2020 you’ll find more a “biological” focus, with a number of companies releasing or researching biological or organic insecticides. Fall Armyworm is also in the focus with pest pressure and damage beginning to rise. On the home front, we are close to the testing phase for our upgraded search site and now look to launch in the new year. The Infopest team would like to take this opportunity to wish readers and subscribers a blessed and joyous Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. Let’s hope that 2021 is kinder to all than 2020 has been. Thanks for your ongoing support of Infopest.

Fall Armyworm – hopes for additional management tools

Research and Development Corporations have worked closely with industry and the APVMA to apply for and secure access to chemical tools for Fall Armyworm (FAW) management. AUSVEG has developed a handy guide to what has been approved in affected crops. This is a guide only. Please check the APVMA’s site or Infopest for updates. Two new permits (PER90374 & PER89457) have been added since this was created.

Fall Armyworm is notorious for developing resistance to pesticides and commercial biological options are highly desirable as a means of reducing the rate at which resistance to available insecticides may occur. However, there are few readily available options. AgBiTech is a global leader in biological pest controls and is working with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) and the Australian Government to get permission to import a specific strain of nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV) to assist in the management of FAW in all affected crops.

NPV virus product Fawligen is currently registered in Brazil, the US, Zambia, ivory Coast, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, with many more registrations in progress. Access is being sought to import the strain into Australia. AgBiTech advise that this is a matter of approval by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. Dr Melina Miles from QDAF is making an application to import, with a view to the Department trailing it against FAW under Australian conditions. AgBiTech advised that there is a library of Australian endemic viruses to which they and QDAF have access, and work has begun to screen these for suitable candidates which will be effective. The Fawligen virus has been genetically sequenced and CSIRO are looking for a match amongst endemic viruses to substitute as appropriate. So, whilst this is a hopeful mid-to-long-term offering, it leaves growers struggling in the short term.

Magnet is another AgBiTech product that is an attractant to moths and is very effective when used on a large scale to reduce pest numbers. Strips are placed through the crop 72m apart. Developed by the Australian cotton industry and AgBiTech in the early 2000’s as a tool for managing Helicoverpa sp, the substance is a blend of volatiles which attract moths and a feeding stimulant (sugar syrup) to trigger them to feed. A fast-acting insecticide is added just prior to application to kill the pest. Magnet is attractive to many other pest moth species such as FAW, which was the foundation for an emergency use permit. Magnet is not generally attractive to other insects, however, depending on the toxicant used, insects that inadvertently come into contact with the mix will be affected, however only 2% of the field is treated with the product, thus reducing the chance of inadvertent contact by non-target species. Research shows that bees are not attracted to Magnet. Cotton industry research shows that when used on large scale, up to 90% of moths can be controlled, however growers trialling Magnet on FAW have reported that under heavy pressure the product can become overwhelmed. AgBiTech are working with researchers and growers to better understand how to make Magnet work as a tool for the suppression of FAW.

The sudden increase in FAW numbers has placed certain chemicals at risk of resistance developing from overuse and poses major threat to the long-term efficacy of a suite of modes of action against both FAW, Helicoverpa armigera and possibly other lepidopteran species like Diamondback Moth. Researchers and extension officers suggest that when targeting FAW with insecticides to consider adding ViVUS Max (Helicoverpa NPV) to ensure that resistance in Helicoverpa sp is not inadvertently created. For more information on Fawligen, Magnet and ViVUS contact Philip Armytage (parmytage@agbitech.com).

Serpentine Leafminer detections – NSW & QLD

Serpentine leafminer (Liriomyza huidobrensis) poses a serious threat to Australian agriculture and horticultural industries. It is a plant pest that has a wide host range of plant species which includes broccoli, beet, spinach, peas, beans, potatoes and cut flowers. Severe unmanaged infestations of serpentine leafminer may result in premature leaf drop, poor growth, and reduced crop yields. There has been a confirmed detection of serpentine leafminer on field grown vegetables in Western Sydney. The infested property is situated in a peri-urban area of the Sydney basin.

On 13 November 2020 serpentine leafminer was also detected in Kalbar in the Fassifern Valley region of Queensland. The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests met on 23 November 2020 to discuss the incident. The committee agreed to recommend to the National Management Group that the serpentine leafminer is an Emergency Plant Pest as defined by the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. However, due to the locations of the incident, the current spread of the pest, the pest’s biology that includes a diverse host range the committee agreed to recommend that it is not technically feasible to eradicate.

A technical workshop with research and development experts will be held to further explore control options and identify knowledge gaps. Plant pest specialists will consider how to assist industry to manage serpentine leafminer and minimise the pest’s impact. Further information about current control methods and recommended chemical management options can be found on the NSW Department of Primary Industries website dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Production nurseries and growers should always check their crops regularly for signs of plant pests and disease. If you suspect a serpentine leafminer infestation, report it to the department of primary industries or agriculture in your state or territory. You can do this by phoning the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Corteva launching new organic insecticide in Australia

Corteva’s new product, Entrust Organic is being heralded as having “efficacy equivalent to synthetic insecticides, but with the safety and environmental profile of a biological”. Approved by the APVMA in July 2020, Entrust is now available on the market released in October. Entrust Organic belongs to a unique group known as the ‘Spinosyns’ and is a Group 5 insecticide for resistance management. Registered on over 80 different crops, for use against many caterpillar pests, it has been used by organic corn growers under emergency use permit PER89870 for the control of Fall Armyworm.
To read more, click here.

Building a pipeline for bringing new natural products to growers

A new collaboration between two R&D pioneers aims to accelerate the discovery of breakthrough crop protection technologies. Zymergen, a biomanufacturing company at the forefront of synthetic biology has announced a new partnership with FMC Corporation to develop new crop protection solutions for growers around the world. The partnership aims to build the world’s best and fastest pipeline for bringing new natural products to growers.
To read more, click here

Cotton pest management guide released

If you grow cotton, the Cotton Pest Management Guide 2020-21 is a must have resource offering information on insect, mite and weed control, disease prevention, biosecurity and spray application best practice. Released in August, the Guide also came with a very informative chart showing the impact of insecticides and miticides on predators, parasitoids and bees in cotton. To download a copy and read more, click here.

Chemical label variations permitted without APVMA notification – Why you need Infopest.

Infopest works closely with the APVMA and host the digital display of labels approved by the APVMA which are referred to as relevant label particulars (RLPs). Under their legislation, the APVMA has a list of variations or changes that can be made to an agricultural or veterinary product label by the chemical registrant which do not require the APVMA to be notified.

While these variations have been permitted for a long time, the APVMA update dated 7/10/2020 aims to clearly communicate this variation type to stakeholders. One of the reasons why Infopest is a valuable tool is that we display both the RLPs and the marketed product labels (MPLs) which are permitted to have these variations. The RLP is the primary label displayed and there is an MPL button which is a link to the MPL if available. Infopest requests these from registrants and displays them with their permission.

Products frequently get redistributed to other companies for marketing which can lead to confusion if the company details have not been changed in the RLP. However, with the display of the MPL available through Infopest, users are able to determine who to contact for information and advice on the product in question.

The APVMA is seeking feedback on the permitted variations allowed without notification from stakeholders. We would encourage readers to email any comments on the information in relation to variations that can be made without notifying the APVMA to enquiries@apvma.gov.au with the subject header ‘Variations that can be made without notifying the APVMA’. Comments are being received by APVMA up to 7 December 2020.

The APVMA recently released a News Update to this effect, stating that “variations that do not affect the relevant particulars or conditions of registration of a product or label include:
• corrections to typographical errors and spelling mistakes
• updating a Mode of Action group
• updating reference to a product holder on a label if this has changed (for example, in the resistance management strategy)
• compatibility statements (this excludes ‘incompatibility’ statements that have been required by the APVMA)
• changes to packaging material
• changing from one source of approved active constituent to another.”

For further information about minor variations visit the APVMA’s website.

Western Flower Thrips gene mapping

Being a pest of many crops and a vector mechanism for Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV), western flower thrips (WFT) is a costly pest to many sectors of agriculture. Much research has taken place to curb the impact of both thrips and virus, but recent research has lead scientists to sequence and analyse the genomes for WFT with the aim of pinpointing molecular-level targets among the insect’s nearly 17,000 genes. Researchers are using the genome to better understand interactions between WFT and TSWV to assist in disease prevention.
To read more, click here.