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Improved management of rutherglen bug in the Northern Region
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Rutherglen bug (Nysius vinitor) (RGB) is a native Australian insect that causes occasional but significant damage to the grains industry, primarily due to impacts on yield and quality when infestation occurs during grain fill. Damage to seedlings is also observed in years when populations migrate from senescing winter crops to emerging summer crops. Impacted grain crops include sunflower, sorghum, canola and safflower. In years of significant populations, pulses and cereals may also be affected.
It is well known that migratory flights of RGB on storm fronts from inland Australia are one source of the pest. However, there are populations that persist in the local environment on weed and crop hosts which provide consistent pest pressure. When the timing of these two populations coincide, management is severely challenged.
A recent review indicated it is unlikely new chemistries will be brought to market with improved efficacy on RGB compared to the current options. Given this, it is important to understand when and how best to employ the limited options available.
There is existing knowledge on pest lifecycle development, habitat preference and environmental conditions that trigger flight patterns, however fundamental ecology work is still required to understand the environmental triggers for synchronised emergence of RGB within the Northern Region and then to understand how populations develop and disperse between native vegetation, alternative weed hosts and susceptible crops.
Coupling this understanding of pest population/environment dynamics with knowledge of the impact of different pest levels at critical growth stages will assist growers and agronomists to better manage the pest and only apply insecticides when an economic return is likely.
Sporadic pests such as rutherglen bug can cause significant economic losses and successful management is often challenged by failure to understand the risk of the pest occurring in any one season. Improved management of rutherglen bug will be achieved through research investigating:
- the drivers of rutherglen bug emergence, development and dispersal in the northern grains region
- critical pest thresholds for key crops and the development of robust and manageable sampling strategies
- efficacious control strategies
- opportunities to predict (in real-time) the likelihood of damaging RGB populations occurring during susceptible crop stages
This investment seeks to reduce the financial impact of Rutherglen bug by improving our understanding of the factors that enhance its persistence, developing a risk framework for predicting infestation and providing growers with knowledge on when it is economic to implement control options
June 2025, the impact of rutherglen bug on crops of the Northern Region is reduced by 10% by improving understanding of factors that drive its persistence, being able to predict likely incidence of damaging populations, and by having registered products available to exploit ecological weaknesses.
By December 2023, the environmental and vegetative drivers of RGB emergence, development and dispersal are understood.
- Research efforts should focus on understaing persistance of populations in the local envirtonment rather than migrating populations.
- Results of field emergence should be verified in other growing regions.
- Effort should focus on the gaps in ecology knowledge (emergence and dispersal)
By June 2024, an updated management package available for growers to minimise the impact of early and late season infestations of RGB.
- Updated ecology to be included
- Package needs to identify opportunities to exploit ecological weaknesses and pest behaviour
- Management package should incorporate updated thresholds for key crops (sorghum, mungbean, sunflower) and the cost/benefit of spraying with existing or new chemistry considering off-target impacts
By June 2024, a risk framework is available for growers to guide likely infestation of RGB from both locally emerged and migratory populations.
- Framework should incorporate historical and new ecology data
- Framework should incorporate real time seasonal conditions
- Inclusion of monitoring equipment for real time surveillance of RGB flights should be considered
The Conditions for Participation (eligibility criteria) for this procurement include:
- The applicant must be a single legal entity or recognised firm of partners.
- The applicant and any subcontractor must be compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
- The applicant and any subcontractor must not have a judicial decision against it (not including decisions under appeal) relating to employee entitlements and who have not paid the claim.
- The applicant and any subcontractor must not be named on the Consolidated List, being the list of persons and entities who are subject to targeted financial sanctions or travel bans under Australian sanction laws, as maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The contract will be offered for a three and a half year term.
Tenderers must submit their responses electronically through the Grains Investment Portal
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