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Beneficial Insects & Biodiversity Key to Pest Management?

Beneficial Insects & Biodiversity Key to Pest Management?

2021-09-28

During the last five years, the Macadamia Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program has actively worked on testing potent biological, cultural, and chemical combinations to eliminate harmful insects and pests. The most prominent way to do this is to introduce biodiversity. These farm trials were conducted in both New South Wales and Queensland orchards. The focus of these studies is to protect macadamia orchards from harmful pests that are starting to show signs of fruit.

Moreover, according to NSW Department of Primary Industries, there are a few particular tools that need to be utilized to control in-farm pests and insects. The most crucial step to deal with these unwanted guests is to continuously monitor the environment in which the crop is placed and introduce biodiversity. Additionally, timing is also of utmost importance. Without this, the healthy crop can be completely ruined. Also, good coverage is crucial and that’s where cultural control comes in, opening up the canopy and also increasing the biodiversity with different inter-rows.

With the implementation of biodiversity and beneficial insects, farm owners can actively cut down on the usage of broad-spectrum insecticide. However, this does not indicate that these chemicals will not be used at all. They are just kept as a last resort. Researchers are one year into a small-scale trial on inter-row cropping and introducing biodiversity at the Centre for Tropical Horticulture at Alstonville, planting native shrubs and flowering plants to increase the number of natural enemies.

Nevertheless, it is too early to draw any sort of conclusions regarding biodiversity at the present moment. It definitely is beneficial, but there is a need to know whether that also has an impact on your quality and yield in the end.

What is Biodiversity?

The term biodiversity refers to the varieties of life present here on Earth. Therefore, this term encapsulates all levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain life. Biodiversity is important to most aspects of human lives. This includes the many basic needs humans obtain from biodiversities such as food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. Further, ecosystems provide crucial services such as pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water purification, nutrient cycling, and control of agricultural pests. 

Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)