IPM-Sweet Corn

Integrated Pest Management – IPM – strategies aim to reduce the pest population to a minimum by taking into account the various components and how they might be manipulated. IPM uses a range of tools and management options, which include: cultural, physical, biological and chemical control measures.

The Australian sweet corn industry has benefited from Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Research & Development through the introduction of biological methods as opposed to broad-spectrum insecticides.

The conservation of naturally occurring parasitoids and predators is important as they, along with pathogens and some insecticides, are being used to manage pests in sweet corn.

An integrated package of practices is more sustainable than one based on broadspectrum insecticides alone. It involves a thorough understanding of pest-beneficial interactions, use of biological and narrow spectrum insecticides, spray decisions based on scouting information and pesticide application using improved equipment and techniques.

Integrated Pest Management in Sweet Corn
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Making pest management decisions:

  1. First decide if action, such as pesticide application, is needed to avoid loss from pest damage. If action is required, remember the following important tips.
  2. Choose pesticides that will be the least damaging to beneficial insects
  3. Spray only when the pest level becomes economically damaging
  4. Spray at the stage in the pest life cycle when it is most susceptible
  5. Spray individual plantings and not the whole farm
  6. Target sprays on appropriate plant parts, i.e. the silks.

Monitoring and action thresholds help you make these decisions. The threshold you set will depend on the activity of beneficial insects and the risks you are willing to take in not controlling the pest.

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