VINEYARD PEST SESSION – PLANNING & VIGILANCE IS KEY

Vineyard operators in the Margaret River region gathered recently at Overstory vineyard to take part in a Cowaramup Agencies’ hosted vineyard pest management session.

Convened by the Agencies’ viticulture specialist Mike Sleegers, attendees heard first from Entomologist Director at Bugs for Bugs Dan Papacek, who spoke about beneficial species, their use as part of an overall pest management strategy, and creating an environment where they can thrive. Dan’s Queensland-based company provides a number of species used to help control damaging vineyard pests.

Alison Mathews, DPIRD’s Manjimup-based research scientist then took a look at the lifecycle and optimal time for reduction in numbers of the Margaret River regions major pests; snails, garden weevils and mealybug. Her presentation covered strategies for preparedness, organic options and included research finding of her legendary predecessor, Stuart Learmonth.

Consensus was that there is no silver bullet to eradicate vineyard pests. However constant monitoring and a variety of management strategies executed at the right time will reduce their numbers. The session reminded everyone that vigilance and quick action is the key. And with weevil pupae detected already in the region’s soils, growers already have a fight on their hands.

There is a glimmer of organic hope in the future combat of garden weevils. Steve David from Sustainable Farm Solutions (SFS) spoke briefly about a yet to be released for grapevines product which may be suitable for weevils and snails.

Congratulations to SFS door prize winners:
Joel, who won a 20L Soil Activator contains multiple food sources to feed beneficial microbes and support healthy soils
Steve, who won a 20L Fish Max a super concentrated food source for soil microbes with natural nitrogen (7.8%N)

Sincere thanks to our speakers:
Dan Papacek, Entomologist Director, Bugs for Bugs
Alison Mathews, DPIRD Manjimup.

And to Ryan Collins and Overstory, who received a 20L Uptake Elite, Natural Liquid NPK fertiliser.