Preparing to manage bunch pests without chlorpyrifos

Preparing to manage bunch pests without chlorpyrifos

Tegan Cavallaro, Ingrid Jenkins & Sarah Williams | Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has proposed that all uses of products containing chlorpyrifos in bananas be cancelled (except for impregnated bunch covers).
Growers should start planning for how they will manage bunch pests without applying chlorpyrifos. The alternative registered and permitted chemicals to manage the main insect bunch pests are summarised below:

Things to consider

  • The rate for bell injecting with spinetoram listed in the minor use permit (PER87189) is different to that on the label for bunch spraying.
  • Good bunch spray coverage is important to get effective control.
  • Resistance management. Rotate between chemical groups and avoid bell injecting, bunch spraying and ground spraying with the same chemical. *The chemical groups are in brackets and colour coded in the above images.
  • Consider fruit fungal issues when
    changing practices. Practices that increase air flow in bunch covers and the use of a registered fungicide may help minimise
    fungal diseases that affect fruit quality.
  • Life stages of the pest – consider using chemicals that focus on the soil-dwelling pupal stage of rust thrips as an additional option for control.

On-farm trials

  • The National Banana Development & Extension Team are now taking the current ‘best bet’ options from field trials onto farms. These trials will
    compare the grower’s current practices (either bunch dusting or bunch spraying with chlorpyrifos) to:
  • Bell injection (60mL acephate)
  • Early application of a liner (tied tight against bunch stalk)
  • Either a plastic bunch cover tied tight against bunch stalk with a flue or paper bunch cover
  • Bunch spray with 50-60ml of spinetoram with mancozeb registered for control of fruit speckle

What’s in the pipeline?

The Banana IPDM (Integrated Pest and Disease Management) project is focusing on biological approaches. Lab, pot and field trials are underway.
Hort Innovation has secured funding for trial work which is underway to assess the efficacy and generate residue data for a new active chemical to control bunch pests. These trials are not anticipated to be completed before 2026.