The Clare Valley Wine and Grape Association has successfully acquired $9400 of funding through the Grassroots Grants program offered by the Northern & Yorke Landscape Board. The project aims to demonstrate best practice integrated pest management (IPM) for the control of Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) in vineyards in the Clare Valley through increasing biodiversity.

LBAM and other detrimental vineyard insects can reduce both the yield and quality of winegrapes by increasing the susceptibility of grapes to diseases such as botrytis. It is therefore important to find solutions for successful control of LBAM and other detrimental insects. One such solution is IPM - a technique using a combination of biological, cultural, and chemical control to holistically reduce the incidence of problematic pests.

This project will evaluate and trial IPM approaches at Morella and Skillogalee vineyards, monitoring beneficial predatory insect populations and their effect on control of LBAM. The demonstration vineyards have already participated in the national EcoVineyards Project and have existing under-vine, headland and mid-row plantings of native plant species that attract beneficiary insects. Insect populations will be monitored and evaluated in four blocks, two with the native plant species incorporated in the vineyard and the other two more conventional vineyards without native plantings. The correlation between predatory beneficial insect populations and incidence of LBAM will be measured.

We have engaged experienced entomologist Dr. Michael Nash to help design and deliver this project. Monitoring of beneficials began in November. Two methods of monitoring were used in the vineyards, a cardboard sticky trap was hung in the canopy for rapid detection and monitoring of flying insect pests and pitfall traps (vials of ethanol) were assembled in the soil under-vine to trap ground dwelling insects. Traps will remain in the vineyard for a week and Dr. Nash will conduct the identification and counts of the insects collected. Monitoring of insect populations will be repeated in late December and late January. An extension activity to deliver key findings will be run at demonstration vineyards in 2024 for CVWGA members to attend.

Thank you to Dr Nash for his support for this project as well as the vineyard crew at Morella and Skillogallee vineyards.

CVWGA is excited to partner with local CVWGA members, EcoVineyards, Northern & Yorke Landscape Board and Dr. Michael Nash to observe the outcomes of this project and provide practical on-ground benefits to the region.

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