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Come Clean Go Clean protocol gets cotton machinery moving
Apr '10
mEmerald Irrigation Area's weather-delayed cotton harvest finally moved into gear in the second week of March with growers and contractors endorsing the new 'Come Clean - Go Clean' protocol to reduce the spread of the exotic Solenopsis mealybug.

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) cotton extension officer Susan Maas at Emerald said researchers from DEEDI and the cotton industry have paved the way for the effective use of Pulse Penetrant to disinfest farm machinery.

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said the evaluation and subsequent approval of an Emergency Use Permit for Pulse Penetrant by DEEDI's Toowoomba-based researchers enabled the development of a robust Come Clean Go Clean protocol.

"Cotton Australia has worked closely with our researchers and the Queensland Government to develop a protocol that implemented correctly, we now feel confident about being able to severely limit the spread of mealybugs both within the affected areas and to other cotton regions," Mr Kay said.

"We are pleased that Biosecurity Queensland has an inspector on the ground to assist the cotton industry with their inspections and that picking contractors can now move with confidence.

"All cotton growers are advised to visit the Cotton Australia website for a copy of the protocol and the Nufarm Pulse Penetrant permit and label directions recommending a spray concentration of 500 ml per 100 litres applied to all machinery surfaces to the point of run-off."

Cotton farm equipment leaving Central Queensland must be inspected as per the Come Clean Go Clean protocol. Inspections can be arranged by contacting Natalie Dearden on 0427 843 107 or Michael Benham on 0429 565 453 with a 48-hour notice requirement.

DEEDI senior entomologist Dr Melina Miles, Toowoomba, has overseen Pulse Penetrant machinery disinfestation trials to assess the mortality of nymph and adult mealybugs.

Ms Maas said the positive trial findings indicated that Pulse effectively dissolved the waxy coating of the mealybugs delivering close to 100 per cent mortality.

Trials were currently underway to study the survival of the Solenopsis mealybug without a food source to give some indication of how long they can live on machinery surfaces. Early results show that crawlers die within 24 to 48 hours but 50 per cent of adult (3rd instar) mealybugs at the egg laying stage were still alive after two weeks.

A coordinated industry investigation identified 58 fields with mealybugs present but of these, only 19 cotton blocks recorded crop losses of around 100 sq m with the total infected area within the Emerald Irrigation Area totalling just under 100 ha.

Ms Maas said in-field observations at Emerald had shown a rapid build-up of natural mealybug predators.

"There is no doubt that a likely future mealybug management option will be to adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach," Ms Maas said.

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