Supporting Australian grape and wine producers

The Australian Wine Research Institute


Agrochemical Updates, eBulletin - 18 August 2010

Wine Industry Locust Control Strategy

This eBulletin provides an industry-endorsed recommendation for locust control. The information replaces that contained in the 29 July 2010 eBulletin.

Significant locust plagues have been predicted for south-eastern Australia over the coming spring and summer. The Australian Wine industry endorses the following strategy to mitigate the impact of Australian Plague Locust (APL) on grape and other crops. The strategy was developed in consultation with Department of Primary Industry (DPI) groups from South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The aim is to control the ‘hopper’ stage and prevent swarming of the adult stage.

To minimise the risk of agrochemical residues in export wines, it is extremely important that no insecticide is sprayed on foliage or grapes. Follow the instructions below and contact your winery or grape purchaser to discuss control options after E-L 25, 80% caps off.

Your obligations

Throughout Australia, primary control of locusts is the responsibility of the landholder (Australian Plague Locust Commission). Failure to notify your DPI of the presence of locust hoppers or failure to treat locust hoppers may be in breach of legislation.

Locust control strategy

Growers are required to meet all label/permit requirements and follow the protocol outlined below. The following ground applied control strategy is targeted at the ‘hopper’ growth stage.

  • Monitor for emergence of hoppers from mid September, particularly where adults were observed laying eggs the previous season. Note that roadsides, tracks and areas of hard ground, as well midrows between vines need to be monitored.
  • It is in their nature that hoppers will stay close to the ground and will seek out open bare ground to warm themselves. If numbers are high enough, they will mass together before moving as a dense band onto surrounding ground vegetation. At this stage they cannot fly.
  • The best time to control APL is when these bands are formed. Apply pesticide (see table) directly onto hoppers and adjacent ground cover they are likely to move through when they have congregated together. This will occur when the hoppers are at a specific developmental stage (3rd instar) i.e. around 6 mm – 10 mm in size.
  • It is NOT necessary to spray entire vineyards, only spray where and when hoppers have banded together.
  • Use undervine or inter-row boom sprays. DO NOT USE air assisted or mister spray units when applying conventional insecticides (i.e. other than metarhizium).
  • When applying insecticide directly onto locusts and adjacent ground cover, drive slowly, keep the boom low and use nozzles that deliver at least a Medium droplet spectrum. Avoid the use of extended range flat fan nozzles. DO NOT SPRAY VINES DIRECTLY.
  • Continue to monitor hopper activity. Hopper bands may move in from neighbouring areas and additional sprays may be required. When respraying, follow label respray intervals.
  • If you must control hoppers in your vineyard after E-L 25, 80% caps off, contact your winery or grape purchaser to discuss control options.
  • Only apply chemicals that are registered for use in vines or have permit for the pest. It is important that chemical applicators ensure that products are approved for their crop/situation and if operating off-label under a permit that they obtain a copy and follow all the conditions of those permits.
  • Spray records need to be kept even if spray is applied to the ground, headland, vineyard roads or tracks.
  • The chemicals used for APL control are very toxic to humans (except metharizium) and full personal protective equipment (PPE) as per label directions should be worn during the spraying operations.

Note: In some States APL hopper control is mandatory and chemical rebates may be available. Conditions apply. Contact your local DPI for further details.

Adult locust

The above advice does not pertain to adult locust swarms.

Adult locust swarms are unpredictable and will not be attracted to vineyard foliage in the first instance. For this reason as well as the issues around residues in wine, disruption to IPM programs and worker safety, no preventative strategy has been developed for the control of adult locusts in vineyards. If you suspect you will be under pressure from locust swarms, contact your winery or grape purchaser for advice.

NOTE: Irrigated vineyards that are isolated in an otherwise arid environment are likely to be susceptible when locust swarms are near. It is recommended that you contact your winery or grape purchaser for advice if you are in this situation.

Notes on active constituents

It is important that chemical applicators ensure that products are approved for their crop/situation and if operating off-label under a permit that they obtain a copy of the permit and follow all the conditions.

While the active constituents listed in the table below will control APL hoppers, they are not all the same. Consult your winery or grape purchaser for preferred chemicals. Some may not be available due to high demand this season.

  • Metarhizium anisopliae is not a ‘knockdown’ insecticide and will take at least 8 days to take effect.

Options for ‘hopper’ control of APL

The following table lists the registered chemicals and current off-label permits issued for grapevines for the control of APL. It is essential that you read the conditions attached to the permit prior to use. The withholding period (WHP) advice is for control of the APL hopper stage.

Tas NSW Qld SA WA VIC WHP
fenitrothion Registered Use up to 80% capfall.
Contact your winery or grape purchaser prior to further use.
Metarhizium anisopliae Registered Not specified
Carbaryl PER11658 ** Use up to 80% capfall.
Contact your winery or grape purchaser prior to further use.
Chlorpyrifos PER11658 ** Use up to 80% capfall.
Contact your winery or grape purchaser prior to further use.
Diazinon * Registered ** Use up to 80% capfall.
Contact your winery or grape purchaser prior to further use.
Maldison PER11658 ** Use up to 80% capfall.
Contact your winery or grape purchaser prior to further use.
Non-bearing vines only
alpha-cypermethrin PER10927 PER10927 PER10927 ** Not specified

* South Australian legislation allows use of a product where the use pattern is registered in another state. For further information contact PIRSA (08) 8226 0222.

** Victoria is not included under the various permits because their ‘control-of-use’ legislation means that a permit is not required to legalise off-label use in Victoria. It is recommended that you seek further advice from the Chemical Standards Branch of Victorian DPI by calling (03) 9217 4177 or emailing chemicalstandards@dpi.vic.gov.au.

Useful links

State specific information is available and it is advised that growers become familiar with the relevant website:

http://www.daff.gov.au/animal-plant-health/locusts

http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/locust

http://new.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/plague-locusts

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pests-weeds/insects/general/locusts

http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/PC_92901.html

http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/4790_8269.htm

http://www.winesofvictoria.com.au/content/files/newsletters/Locusts_VWIA_Fact_Sheet_August_2010.pdf

For further information: contact Marcel Essling, Viticulturist on email agrochemicals@awri.com.au or by telephone 08 8313 6600.

This information is provided to inform the Australian grape and wine sector of agrochemical information, and should not be interpreted as an endorsement

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