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FMC leading the way with stewardship workshops

Creation date: 26 July 2019

Agricultural Sciences company FMC is working towards more sustainable chemical use with workshops held throughout the country in recent years.


The workshops, conducted by Dr Paul Horne and Jessica Page from IPM Technologies, are designed to prolong the lifespan of agricultural insecticides and encourage farmers and agronomists to consider using cultural practices and beneficial insects as part of their control programs.


FMC Strategic Product Manager, Angus Wilson, said farmers that use a heavy spray program have often run into issues with insects becoming resistant.


“In the past we have seen resistance issues in many regions and crops in Australia and it is critically important we preserve the current options available,” he said. “In the workshops Dr Horne focuses on a crop from the local area and looks at the pests and the beneficial insects that will assist with controlling them. He then looks at cultural practices and then chemical options that are available to also control those pests.”


At a recent workshop with agronomists from Swan Hill Chemicals, in Swan Hill, northern Victoria, participants discussed pests often present in tomatoes.


Pests of concern included Heliothis, aphids, thrips, two spotted mites, leaf hoppers (jassids) and whitefly.


Dr Horne was able to name a wide range of beneficial insects that could be used as part of an Integrated Pest Management program to help control the pests in tomatoes.


“For Heliothis, there are Trichogramma and other parasitic wasps, shield bugs and lacewings that all help control the grubs,” Mr Wilson said.


“Aphids can be controlled with lacewings, ladybirds, hoverflies and wasps, and thrips have a range of predatory mites and other bugs. There is a similar story with two spotted mite, leaf hoppers and whitefly,” he said. 


Many of the beneficial insects occur naturally in the environment or can also be purchased and introduced into the crop.


Mr Wilson said the Swan Hill group discussed a range of cultural options that could be included as part of an IPM program. Weed control, dust control and other measures were important as part of the overall strategy. He said a key to any successful IPM program was utilising chemistry that is soft on beneficial insects. 


“Insecticides that are more targeted and do not have an adverse effect on key beneficial insects are obviously preferred options.” 


The Swan Hill workshop examined insecticide options available for each pest in tomatoes and also considered whether they had an adverse effect on useful insects.


“While there are a number of options available to control certain pests, insecticides that are soft on beneficials will normally assist in achieving good crop protection for longer,” Mr Wilson said.


“In the FMC range, the Group 28 insecticides of Coragen® and Benevia® are excellent IPM options in Tomatoes. Both are available in a range of other crops as well. Exirel® and Altacor® are also Group 28 chemistry and they are good options for excellent control of pests without affecting key beneficial insects.”


He said the FMC range of Group 28 insecticides was extremely popular with growers because of their pest control benefits and other attributes. “Typically, they provide robust control with good residual, are soft on beneficial insects and have an excellent environmental and user safety profile.” 


Mr Wilson said it was important to use the chemistry as per the label. The popularity of these products has led to concern about overuse and the potential for insect resistance. 

He said beneficial insects could also play a role by consuming pests that may have become resistant and by keeping those populations down. “FMC has held IPM workshops throughout Australia and New Zealand as a stewardship commitment to the industry.”


“Integrated Pest Management programs have the potential to reduce insecticide use and preserve a wide range of chemistry for the future. As the leading company in this particular area of chemistry we are very focused on ensuring that Group 28 insecticide products are sustainable and available for the long term.” 



Image: Rhiannan McPhee and Angus Blair from Swan Hill Chemicals with Jessica Page and Dr Paul Horne from IPM Technologies. Agricultural Sciences company FMC has been providing workshops for farmers and agronomists over a number of years across the country. 

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