How to Reduce Pests and Diseases the Natural Way

How to Reduce Pests and Diseases the Natural Way

Who enjoys using chemicals, especially on food crops? No one!

Wouldn’t it be great if there were easier, cheaper, safer and more effective ways of controlling pests?

Two market Gardeners just north of Adelaide in Virgina are well on their way to heading there.

While they have not been able to eliminate chemicals completely, two projects they have embarked on, have greatly reduced the need for insecticides, with some amazing benefits.

One project looked at the effect of vegetation on insect pests.

Consider the following photos that illustrate a change in approach to pest control.

  1. Greenhouse surrounded by weeds
    Greenhouse surrounded by weeds

    In the first photo we see greenhouses that are surrounded by introduced weeds (wild turnip, wild mustard, marshmallow, etc) on which insect pests such as thrips thrive and breed. It’s simple for the pests to move from the weeds onto crops when they are first planted in the glasshouse. A hefty spray program is currently the accepted way to protect the crops from direct insect damage and reduce the risk of insects carrying viral diseases from weeds to the crops.

  2. Roadside weed control
    Roadside weed control

    The next photo shows a roadside where the weeds have been controlled, removing them as a source of insects that infest crops. Bare earth buffers can be effective, however it is still possible for infected insects to blow in from neighbouring properties where weeds and old diseased crops have not been removed.

  3. Hydroponic area surrounded by saltbush
    Hydroponic area surrounded by saltbush

    The last photo shows a hydroponic growing area that is surrounded by several species of native saltbush. The benefits of the saltbush include:

    • It covers the ground and does not allow weed species to grow, reducing the need to spray weeds with herbicide.
    • It does not support pest insects such as aphids and thrips, so they cannot breed on the saltbush and move into the crop.
    • It supports natural predators that could control pest insects that blow into the vegetation from neighbouring properties.

The Result?

These innovate growers do not need to spray insecticides as often they used to, saving time and money.

What Next?

The next step is to plant saltbush under the hydroponic tables, to encourage predators in the growing area.

Want more information about this? Have a look at the book Revegetation by Design Guidebook, which can be downloaded at http://www.sardi.sa.gov.au/pestsdiseases/research_projects2/research_projects/revegetation_by_design

 

This article originally appeared in AgChemNews. A quarterly broadcast providing up to date industry specific information on Chemical Safety and Uses. For more information or to sign up to broadcasts visit smithandgeorg.com.au/agchemnews.

How Hazardous Are The Chemicals I’m Using?

How Hazardous Are The Chemicals I’m Using?

There are a few ways that you can determine the risk that particular chemicals pose to you.

  1. Caustic SodaOne of these is to look at the Signal Heading on the chemical label. Click the following link to watch a video with an explanation of signal headings and what they mean to those of us who use chemicals: “Chemical Hazard Levels & Poison Signal Headings in Australia”
    Signal Headings on chemical label Poison Schedule What it means
    No signal heading Unscheduled The chemical is relatively safe to the user
    CAUTION Schedule 5 Low-moderately hazardous
    POISON Schedule 6 Very hazardous, can cause poisoning
    DANGEROUS POISON Schedule 7 Extremely hazardous, can cause poisoning and death. Availability and use of these chemicals may be restricted to trained and accredited people.
  2. Dangerous Substance ContainerIf a chemical container has one or more diamonds on it, it is classified under Australian law as a Dangerous Substance, which means it can pose a significant risk to people and/or the environment while it is being transported and stored. The symbol and words on the diamond describe the nature of the hazard.
  3. Check out the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the product. Most SDSs can be accessed via the internet; simply do a search for “<product name>, Safety Data Sheet, Australia”. When reading the SDS, pay particular attention to Part 2 – Hazards identification; Part 8 – Exposure controls/Personal protection; and Part 11 – Toxicological information.

This article originally appeared in AgChemNews. A quarterly broadcast providing up to date industry specific information on Chemical Safety and Uses. For more information or to sign up to broadcasts visit smithandgeorg.com.au/agchemnews.

Great News For People Who Use Animal Health Treatments

Great News For People Who Use Animal Health Treatments

One of the advantages of Smith & Georg’s Online Chemical Accreditation course is that the course participants can customise the course to suit their own industry – it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ course. For example, a person who works with livestock can learn about, and be assessed on; the label from an animal health product, animal health application equipment, and risk assessment for livestock situations.

Cattle
Sheep

At the request of Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA), and with their professional assistance, we recently created a whole new module for the online course just for Animal Health Treatments; covering topics such as:

  • Understanding label/SDS information
  • Residues in meat
  • Resistance management
  • Storing animal health products
  • Application of animal health products
  • Keeping records
  • Disposal of chemical waste

The new module was launched at the Beefex conference on the Gold Coast in October 2014.

People who complete the optional extra module as part of their Online Chemical Accreditation / Reaccreditation course will receive an endorsement on their accreditation card.

Special Offer

To celebrate the launch Smith & Georg are currently offering a 10% discount on the Chemical Accreditation and Chemical ReAccreditation courses (including the extra Animal Health Treatments module). To claim the discount select either Chemical Accreditation or Chemical ReAccreditation, click Enrol Now and enter feedlots2015 as the promotional code during the payment step.

Chemical Accreditation

Choose this option if this is the first time you’re doing the Chemical Accreditation course; or if your accreditation expired more than 12 months ago.

Enrol now to receive your free SprayWise Application Handbook (RRP $49) and save 15% on the Windmate WM-300 Weather Meter.

Chemical Reaccreditation

Choose this option if you’ve done the Chemical Accreditation course before, and it is about to expire; or your accreditation expired less than 12 months ago.

Enrol now to receive your free SprayWise Application Handbook (RRP $49) and save 15% on the Windmate WM-300 Weather Meter.

This article originally appeared in AgChemNews. A quarterly broadcast providing up to date industry specific information on Chemical Safety and Uses. For more information or to sign up to broadcasts visit smithandgeorg.com.au/agchemnews.

Farewell David Smith

Farewell David Smith

David Smith, co-founder of Smith & Georg, retired last year after 18 years of service in the business.

He is famous for his dry humour and his practical approach to just about everything, including training. We will miss his humour and his business wisdom.

David will continue to work in his other business of providing gardening services, and his retirement will hopefully give him more time to enjoy his passion of sailing.

He’s pictured here at his farewell dinner with most of the Smith & Georg staff and their partners. David is seated in the foreground with his wife Jill.

We wish them both all the best for the future.

David Smith's farewell

This article originally appeared in AgChemNews. A quarterly broadcast providing up to date industry specific information on Chemical Safety and Uses. For more information or to sign up to broadcasts visit smithandgeorg.com.au/agchemnews.

Announcing An Upgraded Service From The BOM

Announcing An Upgraded Service From The BOM

When planning spraying activity – know what the weather is going to do is crucial.

After several years of planning, and with input from its Agricultural Weather Consultative Committee, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recently launched an upgraded version of its MetEye service.

Users can go to www.bom.gov.au, click on MetEye, and type in their location to see the latest 7-day forecast of maximum and minimum temperatures, and predicted rainfall for their location; as well as 3-hourly predictions of actual temperature, wind speed and wind direction.  This information can be valuable when planning spraying activity.

MetEye

 

This article originally appeared in AgChemNews. A quarterly broadcast providing up to date industry specific information on Chemical Safety and Uses. For more information or to sign up to broadcasts visit smithandgeorg.com.au/agchemnews.

Do You Make These Dangerous Mistakes Using Group I Herbicides?

Do You Make These Dangerous Mistakes Using Group I Herbicides?

PIRSA has released photos of young Shiraz vines that were damaged last Spring by Group I herbicides 2,4-D and MCPA spray drift. The grape grower noticed symptoms of damage 4 days after the neighbouring paddock had been sprayed; and the photos shown here were taken 7 days after spraying. Residue testing confirmed the presence of both chemicals.

A number of factors were involved in the damage:

  • Spraying Group I herbicides within 30-40 metres of actively growing vines
  • High boom height, due to spraying maturing weeds
  • Wind was initially blowing away from the vines and swung only partly towards the vines as spraying progressed (however wind speed was within the acceptable range stated on the herbicide label). The key message to users is not to spray in risky situations but, if you do, constant vigilance is needed.

There was no evidence of damage to broadleaf weeds growing along the fence between the paddock and the vineyard, highlighting the high sensitivity of the young vines.

PIRSA is monitoring the situation. Reduced growth with some loss of production is expected this vintage, and it will possibly be several years before the vines fully recover.

With recent rains in and near many wine growing regions, it is a timely reminder to farmers who may soon be spraying Summer weeds with Group I herbicides, to be especially careful.

Note that in Victoria, NSW and SA there may be restrictions on who can legally use Group I herbicides. Contact your state’s agriculture department, or Smith & Georg, for more information.

Herbicide damage on grape vines

Photo and original story courtesy of David Hubbard, Rural Chemicals Operations, Biosecurity SA, PIRSA.

This article originally appeared in AgChemNews. A quarterly broadcast providing up to date industry specific information on Chemical Safety and Uses. For more information or to sign up to broadcasts visit smithandgeorg.com.au/agchemnews.

If You Farm Or Keep Bees. . . You Need To BeeConnected

If You Farm Or Keep Bees. . . You Need To BeeConnected

CropLife, in association with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, recently launched the free BeeConnected smart phone app.

Farmers, spray contractors and beekeepers can sign up to the service.  They can log their activity, whether it be spraying or bringing in bees, and can opt to share that information with other farmers or beekeepers within a 10km radius; potentially protecting the bees from chemical damage, which in turn can maximise the pollination potential of the bees in commercial crops.  Personal information is protected from other users.

For more information, and to download the free app, go to www.croplife.org.au/beeconnected

BeeConnectedThis article originally appeared in AgChemNews. A quarterly broadcast providing up to date industry specific information on Chemical Safety and Uses. For more information or to sign up to broadcasts visit smithandgeorg.com.au/agchemnews.