This programme develops integrated management strategies that minimise the effects of pests and diseases on crop production in a sustainable manner.

Biosecurity

Research in this Key Area focuses on:

  • Development of proactive threat specific counter-measures and biosecurity incursions plans;
  • Generation of knowledge of the biology, pathogenicity and epidemiology of pathogens posing potential incursion threats to the industry, as well as the agroecology, behaviour and reproductive biology of new potential pests; and
  • Development of improved procedures and diagnostic technologies to ensure that varieties released or propagated into the industry, or imported via the industry Quarantine Facility, are free of pathogens and pests. The information and knowledge gained in this Key Research Area are applied towards the development of Integrated Management tactics for potential new pathogen and pest incursions into the industry.

Biology and Ecology

Research in this Key Area focuses on:

  • Investigation of the biology and ecology of the primary pathogens and pests of the industry with a view to the development of integrated management tactics and knowledge exchange with the grower community; and
  • Assessment of the impact on crop yield of the primary and emerging pathogens and pests in the industry to facilitate grower decision-making regarding the implementation of management tactics. The information and knowledge gained in this Key Performance Area are applied to the development of integrated management tactics for the major pathogens and pests in the industry.

Resistance

Research in this Key Area seeks to develop knowledge regarding the biological basis of sugarcane resistance to pathogens and pests in order to develop approaches, resources and technologies to enhance resistance breeding in Commercial Breeding.

Cultural and Environmental Practices

Research in this Key Area seeks to develop cost-effective technologies that permit the establishment of sugarcane agro-ecological environments in which pathogens and pests are suppressed to low levels by benign biological or ecological means.

Several complementary habitat management technologies are considered, including:

  • Push-pull technology
  • Biodiversity management, including wetland, riparian zone and vegetation corridor restoration;
  • Crop husbandry, including crop rotation, use of fallow crops, nutrient management and crop residue management;
  • The Sterile Insect Technique; and
  • Parasitoid and entomo-pathogen release.

Agrochemicals

Investigations in this Key Research Area focus on the development of a suite of effective pathogen and pest control agents that are agriculturally, environmentally, ecologically and economically sustainable.

Research focuses on a series of technologies, including:

  • Development of pheromones and traps to enable monitoring and rational agrochemical application programmes, primarily for eldana;
  • Search for more benign alternative chemistries; and
  • Development of superior application tactics and product formulations.

Current Projects

Sterile Insect Technique for eldana management: Resource development and pilot release programme

Variety Evaluation – Nematicide/Insecticide/Plant Physiological effect (BANDITO)

Variety Evaluation – Diseases

Additional chemistries and strategies for sugarcane pest and disease control

Prediction of quantitative resistance to sugarcane pests and diseases by means near infra-red spectroscopy

Fungicidal, nematicidal and biological control of Fusarium associated with eldana

Chemical ecology of Cacosceles newmanii and Eldana saccharina

Development of a user-friendly, in-field test for RSD

The development of an eldana risk index on the SASRI WeatherWeb

Species diversity of natural enemies of yellow sugarcane aphid

Yellow sugarcane aphid and thrips varietal susceptibility

Roguing for smut: economics and alternate methodologies

Economics of establishing certified nurseries with different plant sources

The eldana microbiome

The development of a YSA risk index

Programme Manager: Crop Protection

View details