WINTER is an ideal time for graingrowers to proactively prevent the build-up of pests, diseases and weeds by implementing good on-farm hygiene.
Cold weather minimises pest activity and keeps numbers under control. However, early action is recommended before pests establish and become costly to control.
Good farm hygiene is an essential part of an effective pest and disease management strategy to eliminate any potential food sources, breeding and nesting places.
To target and control pests, the first step is to correctly identify the disease, weed or insect, determine its development stage, and then decide on the best treatment.
How do you do this?
Monitor pest entry pathways such as farm/paddock gates, driveways, stock yards for the presence of new pests or weeds.
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Remove any insect and vermin food sources by cleaning up remnant grains and auger/truck spillages.
Clean up rubbish, discarded machinery, packaging, waste and vegetation, that can provide refuges for pests.
Tractors, seeders, and last season's harvest equipment should be washed down, cleaned, and sanitised before storage in sheds.
Rodents can be destructive and damage infrastructure, machinery, electrical cabling and contaminate stored grains. Place appropriate bait in sheds, seeders, and harvesters to control rodents and reduce their impact.
Spray in and around sheds, silos and buildings. These sites can harbour a range of pests and weed seeds, providing a green bridge and weed seed bank.
Inspect granular fertiliser for seed contamination.
Check hay and mulch for weeds and hitchhiker pests.
Isolate new stock for a period of 21 days to allow any signs of disease to emerge, and to allow time for weed seeds to be excreted. Monitor and manage these areas for new pests and diseases.
Ongoing vigilance is a key part of any on-farm grains biosecurity program.- SHAFIYA HUSSEIN
Ensure visitors, workers, and vehicles come clean and go clean from your property. Washdown facilities with high pressure cleaners are highly recommended.
Monitor crops regularly for diseases and send plant samples to local pathologists for diagnostic confirmation and recommendations on suitable fungicide treatment. Remember that wet weather is ideal for plant pathogens to thrive.
Always remember to read and follow label instructions when using chemicals. Ensure understanding of the chemical's efficacy, persistence, rate, and application method before use and consult regional agronomist or chemical/organic supplier if you are unsure.
Pests of stored grain can jeopordise last season's investment. Monitor stored grains regularly, fumigating and/or aerating where required to stop pests from establishing and infesting your investment.
Ongoing vigilance is a key part of any on-farm grains biosecurity program.
Report anything new or unusual on the property to the plant pest hotline on 1800 084 881.
The Grains Farm Biosecurity website offers practical resources for producers that include fact sheets, videos, how to guides, online training and strategies to assist in the management of grains farm biosecurity risks.
- The Grains Farm Biosecurity Program is an initiative of PIRSA, Plant Health Australia and Grain Producers Australia to improve the management of, and preparedness for, biosecurity risks in the grains industry at the farm and industry levels.
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