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Evolving IPM programmes in horticulture and viticulture

Evolving IPM programmes in horticulture and viticulture

Evolving IPM programmes in horticulture and viticulture

Fruitfed Supplies’ technical knowledge allows the team to advise on integrated pest management (IPM) programmes through multiple touchpoints: the company’s Technical Horticultural Representatives (THRs), Technical Specialists and Crop Monitoring Scouts.

Using a combination of controls and strategies, IPM aims to reduce yield losses in a crop through regular crop monitoring and targeted pest and disease control.1 By doing so, a programme delivers a more sustainable way of managing a crop.

Providing education and assistance to THRs on IPM-friendly tools and growing practices are Technical Specialists. Alongside them in the Fruitfed Supplies Technical team are Technical Advisors who conduct trials on products looking to be registered for use in New Zealand. These trials evaluate a product's performance under local conditions and suitability within an IPM programme.

Technical Specialist, Jon Peet, specialises in viticulture, while his fellow Technical Specialists, Elaine Gould specialises in subtropical fruits, Kevin Manning in pipfruit and Gavin Subritzky in nutrition. Each of them advises the wider Fruitfed Supplies team on techniques covering the three components of IPM, from prevention, including cultural control techniques, to decision tools and intervention, which features crop protection solutions.

“I travel to the grape-growing regions of New Zealand to present technical updates to growers, our THRs and store teams. My training encompasses updates to growing practices and information about newly registered products. I also share learnings from our R&D trials as results can often demonstrate a subtle change in how current products are used, leading to more effective outcomes,” says Jon.

To further understand the IPM process, Jon discusses cultural controls which are management practices designed to minimise the use of chemical applications to control insect pests, diseases and weeds in crops. He notes cultural controls and spray programmes complement each other - for a spray to be fully effective, cultural controls need to be implemented first.

“In grapes, cultural controls help manage the grape canopy and how the vines grow. New Zealand’s climate means we need to actively prevent disease. That means controlling the growth of the canopy to aid light penetration and encourage air circulation.”

“Plucking leaves is an effective cultural control in grape growing. Removing leaves from the lower part of the canopy allows the grapes to dry out, reducing high humidity and moisture, both of which are conditions conducive to disease.”

To support growers in meeting the second component of IPM, decision tools, the Fruitfed Supplies Crop Monitoring team visits orchards and vineyards, gathering and recording insect pest and disease pressure levels. By doing so, growers can assess and make decisions around pressure levels based on accurate data.  

The third component of IPM is intervention and includes the targeted use of crop protection solutions including agrochemical, biological or organically certified products. Working alongside growers, THRs advise on product choice, understanding a product’s compatibility within an IPM programme and its impact on beneficial insects.

“An encompassing system, IPM aims to integrate practices that ensure the environment around the orchard or vineyard is beneficial to growing fruit and vegetables, without interrupting or adversely affecting other insects and the soil’s health.”

1  Walker M, Davidson M, Wright P. (2019). Generic IPM Guideline for Vegetable Crops. Retrieved from http://www.processvegetables.co.nz/assets/Uploads/VR+I-IPM-Guidelines-WEB-SP3.pdf.