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Bugs on the menu for Murray Valley growers

RD&E News | October 2019
11 Oct 2019
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Recent research suggests that natural biological control and the use of locally adapted native insectary plants can potentially provide sustainable solutions for grapegrowers.

But what native insectary plants are suitable, and what populations of beneficial insects will they sustain?

Through the Murray Valley Regional Program, funded by Wine Australia, growers will learn more at a hands-on monitoring and identification exercise being held in November by renowned viticulturalist, Dr Mary Retallack.

Dr Retallack* is a third-generation viticulturist and agricultural scientist whose research interests include environmental stewardship, agroecology, viticulture, plant protection, and native insectary plants. Dr Retallack is the Managing Director of Retallack Viticulture, which offers viticultural and agribusiness consulting services throughout Australia and is recognised internationally as a Certified Practicing Agriculturist.

The hands-on field workshop – to be held 12 November at SuniTAFE farms, Cardross and 13 November at Andrew Pearce Wines, Piangil – will also include a presentation about the role of native insectary plants and the populations of beneficial insects sustained by them.

Attendees will learn about different sampling techniques, insect identification and how to identify nutritional symptoms in the vineyard.

Good spray management will also be on the agenda at the hands-on workshops.

New Zealand-based plant pathologist and spray application specialist Dr David Manktelow will provide theory about good spray management, followed up with practical demonstrations in the field of how to get the most out of spray equipment.

No matter what spray unit you have, this presentation will give growers strategies to ensure that they are covering the target and making best use of the sprays they are applying’,

- Paul Derrico, the Executive Officer of Murry Valley Winegrowers

Dr Manktelow will finish the day with a presentation about the future of spray technology – and provide a peek at innovations in the pipeline. 

Dr Manktelow has worked in horticultural research and extension since 1989, originally with MAF Technology and then with HortResearch. He was associated with the development and implementation of the New Zealand apple integrated fruit production and Integrated Winegrape production programs.  He completed a PhD on spray application in 1998 and since 2003 has worked as an independent researcher and industry trainer. His research areas include disease management, spray application technology and sustainable production systems.

In August, Murray Valley growers attended a pre-season pest and disease workshop, held at SuniTAFE Farm at Cardross and Andrew Pearce Wines, Piangil.

The workshop included presentations on drought tolerant rootstocks (Harley Smith, Senior CSIRO Researcher); the economic thresholds of scale, mealy bug and grapevine virus (Tony Hoare, Senior Viticulturalist with the Australian Wine Research Institute); using good bugs to combat bad bugs and fungal diseases (James Altman, entomologist consultant); and an overview of an organic herbicides trial (Darren Fahey, Viticulture Technical Officer with the NSW DPI).


*Dr Retallack has been a Wine Australia Board member since October 2015.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.