Trapping efficacy in table grape vineyards for area wide management of Queensland fruit fly

This investment will further develop mass trapping methods as a tool to assist in the control of Queensland fruit fly, while evaluating the effectiveness of trapping at decreasing fly populations for table grape growers. This research will ultimately improve area wide management programs for the pest and contribute to continued market access by delivering best practice guidelines for growers. It aligns closely with the current levy-funded program Building capacity in area wide integrated pest management for Qfly in table grapes (TG18001), as well as a state-funded project in Victoria that focuses on Queensland fruit fly mass trapping in stone and pome fruits.

The project team will commence on-farm trials to confirm trap efficacy in table grapes, with a focus on assessing optimal trap placement in and around the crop as well as in nearby host sources and refuges. This will contribute to designing a table grape-specific mass trapping strategy that growers can implement. Following that, on-farm mass trapping programs will be initiated to evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy at decreasing fruit fly populations in and around selected commercial vineyards, and in reducing pre-harvest fruit fly damage to grapes.

Three grower workshops will be held as a way to assess current perceptions and knowledge of mass trapping in the management of fruit flies and to discuss the potential for integrating mass trapping with integrated pest management and current area wide management approaches. This will inform the production of best practice guidelines for growers. On-farm field walks will also be held as a practical means of demonstrating how mass trapping works and its potential impact to growers, consultants and industry stakeholders.

Parasitoids for the management of fruit flies in Australia

This investment is delivering the knowledge needed to evaluate the use of parasitoid wasps as a potential strategy for fruit fly management. The use of natural enemies such as parasitoids against insect pests is regarded as a core component in sustainable pest control and will provide horticulture industries with another method to use for fruit fly management.

This research is being conducted through two complementary components – firstly by improving current knowledge of fruit fly parasitoid distribution in Queensland and northern New South Wales, and secondly by trialling a new mass rearing and release strategy for the southern states.

Improving preparedness of the Australian horticultural sector to the threat potentially posed by Xylella fastidiosa

This multi-industry investment will review and allow Australia to adopt world’s best practice methods for detecting and identifying strains of the Xylella fastidiosa bacteria, should it come to our shores. As well as developing state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, technologies and protocols to screen plant material entering the country and to support active surveillance programs, it will provide associated training to technical staff in diagnostic laboratories.

The project’s work will ultimately allow for quick and effective detection of what is considered to be the number one plant biosecurity threat to Australia and New Zealand, to facilitate a swift and sure response.

Cold disinfestation verification trials for table grapes

While Australian table grapes have access into several Asian markets under cold disinfestation protocols, further verification trials are required to support cold-disinfestation-based access into Taiwan.

This investment is conducting the trials required by the Taiwanese National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) to support the use of cold temperature as a postharvest treatment against both Queensland fruit fly and Mediterranean fruit fly. The results of the work will be used to support protocol negotiations between Taiwan and Australia’s Department of Agriculture.

Trials are currently underway in Queensland and Western Australia, but verification by the Taiwan NPPO is on hold due to border closures.