National workshop examines climate change impact on pest insects

Scientists from around Australia will be in Orange this week for a national workshop on the impact of climate change on a problem estimated to cost farmers up to $500 million a year - managing pest insects.

Organised by the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s National Invertebrate Pest Initiative, the two-day meeting draws together scientists from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, other state government departments, universities, farmer groups and CSIRO.

They’ll be examining climate change scenarios, how they could affect Australian agriculture and how insects are predicted to adapt and evolve.

This has implications for integrated pest management (IPM) in wheat, cotton and horticulture, because of the reliance on beneficial insects in IPM systems to control pest insects, thereby limiting chemical use.

IPM strategies currently in place in these industries will be discussed in light of the projected impact of climate changes on agriculture.

At a dinner tonight, Dr Steve Crimp from CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems will speak about climate change scenarios and Professor Ary Hoffman from the University of Melbourne will talk about the evolutionary limits to adaptation.

Tomorrow, research and industry questions relating to invertebrate pests will be examined. Speakers include those with expertise in northern, south and western grains systems, cotton IPM systems and horticulture IPM.

The workshop is being attended by 65 scientist and is being held at the Orange Agricultural Institute, home to Australia’s largest collection of agricultural pest insects.

Further information from CSIRO is at:
http://www.csiro.au/news/ManagingPestsWorkshop.html
http://www.csiro.au/partnerships/NIPI.html

Relevant background from NSW DPI is available from:
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/research/areas/health-science/plant-health-sciences
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/services/collections/insects

Contacts:

  • Dr Gary Fitt, Deputy Chief of Entomology, CSIRO on 0429 457615
  • Dr David Hall, Research Leader (Plant Health Sciences), NSW DPI on 0427 401 583