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Quilty J.R.,Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Center | Quilty J.R.,University of Sydney | Cattle S.R.,University of Sydney
Soil Research | Year: 2011

A wide range of organic amendments (OA) is currently available to Australian farmers. These products have numerous agronomic applications, including the supply of plant nutrients, control of pests and diseases, and in management of soil health. Several of these products are also used in contaminated and degraded land remediation. The most commonly identifiable groups of OA in Australia are composts, compost teas, vermicasts, humic substances, meat, blood and bone meal, fish hydrolysates, seaweed extracts, bio-inoculants, biodynamic products, and biochars. Many of these OA contain nutrients within organic molecular structures; these nutrients are usually not immediately available to plants and must first be mineralised. Mineralisation often occurs as OA are consumed by microbes, thereby stimulating soil microbial activity. The application of OA such as bio-inoculants, humic substances, and seaweed extracts can potentially stimulate crop growth and development through the actions of plant growth-promoting hormones, including cytokinins, auxins, and gibberellins. Yet despite these apparent benefits, the widespread adoption of OA in Australia has been limited, due in part to the high application rates required to produce agronomic benefits, a lack of consistency in the composition of some products, a poor public perception of their utility, and a lack of unbiased scientific research into the agricultural potential of these products. © CSIRO 2011. Source

Gregg P.C.,Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Center | Del Socorro A.P.,University of New England of Australia | Henderson G.S.,University of New England of Australia
Australian Journal of Entomology | Year: 2010

This paper reports olfactometer studies to determine the attractiveness of synthetic equivalents of plant volatiles to Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) moths. Synthetic volatiles identified from host plants and other volatiles reported in literature as attractants to various noctuid species were tested in a two-choice olfactometer. Of 34 single chemicals tested, only seven were significantly attractive, and six were significantly repellent. However, when presented as blends of two or more volatiles, 21 of 31 blends tested were significantly attractive, and only one was significantly repellent. The most attractive blends were those containing four to six components, including aromatic volatiles primarily found in flowers, especially 2-phenylethanol and phenylacetaldehyde and volatiles found primarily in leaves, including green leaf volatiles and terpenoids. Some general principles in blending volatiles for developing attracticides for H. armigera are presented, including the need for blend complexity, the combination of volatiles from leaves and flowers, and early consideration of pragmatic factors such as price and toxicological profile. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Australian Entomological Society. Source

Del Socorro A.P.,Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Center | Gregg P.C.,University of New England of Australia | Alter D.,University of New England of Australia | Moore C.J.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries
Australian Journal of Entomology | Year: 2010

This paper is the first of a series which will describe the development of a synthetic plant volatile-based attracticide for noctuid moths. It discusses potential sources of volatiles attractive to the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), and an approach to the combination of these volatiles in synthetic blends. We screened a number of known host and non-host (for larval development) plants for attractiveness to unmated male and female moths of this species, using a two-choice olfactometer system. Out of 38 plants tested, 33 were significantly attractive to both sexes. There was a strong correlation between attractiveness of plants to males and females. The Australian natives, Angophora floribunda and several Eucalyptus species were the most attractive plants. These plants have not been recorded either as larval or oviposition hosts of Helicoverpa spp., suggesting that attraction in the olfactometer might have been as nectar foraging rather than as oviposition sources. To identify potential compounds that might be useful in developing moth attractants, especially for females, collections of volatiles were made from plants that were attractive to moths in the olfactometer. Green leaf volatiles, floral volatiles, aromatic compounds, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes were found. We propose an approach to developing synthetic attractants, here termed 'super-blending', in which compounds from all these classes, which are in common between attractive plants, might be combined in blends which do not mimic any particular attractive plant. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Australian Entomological Society. Source

Roth G.,Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Center | Harris G.,03 Tor St | Gillies M.,University of Southern Queensland | Montgomery J.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Wigginton D.,DW Consulting Services
Crop and Pasture Science | Year: 2013

The aim of this review is to report changes in irrigated cotton water use from research projects and on-farm practice-change programs in Australia, in relation to both plant-based and irrigation engineering disciplines. At least 80% of the Australian cotton-growing area is irrigated using gravity surface-irrigation systems. This review found that, over 23 years, cotton crops utilise 6-7ML/ha of irrigation water, depending on the amount of seasonal rain received. The seasonal evapotranspiration of surface-irrigated crops averaged 729mm over this period. Over the past decade, water-use productivity by Australian cotton growers has improved by 40%. This has been achieved by both yield increases and more efficient water-management systems. The whole-farm irrigation efficiency index improved from 57% to 70%, and the crop water use index is >3kg/mm.ha, high by international standards. Yield increases over the last decade can be attributed to plant-breeding advances, the adoption of genetically modified varieties, and improved crop management. Also, there has been increased use of irrigation scheduling tools and furrow-irrigation system optimisation evaluations. This has reduced in-field deep-drainage losses. The largest loss component of the farm water balance on cotton farms is evaporation from on-farm water storages. Some farmers are changing to alternative systems such as centre pivots and lateral-move machines, and increasing numbers of these alternatives are expected. These systems can achieve considerable labour and water savings, but have significantly higher energy costs associated with water pumping and machine operation. The optimisation of interactions between water, soils, labour, carbon emissions and energy efficiency requires more research and on-farm evaluations. Standardisation of water-use efficiency measures and improved water measurement techniques for surface irrigation are important research outcomes to enable valid irrigation benchmarks to be established and compared. Water-use performance is highly variable between cotton farmers and farming fields and across regions. Therefore, site-specific measurement is important. The range in the presented datasets indicates potential for further improvement in water-use efficiency and productivity on Australian cotton farms. © 2013 CSIRO. Source

Del Socorro A.P.,Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Center | Gregg P.C.,University of New England of Australia | Hawes A.J.,Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Center | Hawes A.J.,Ag Biotech Australia Pty Ltd
Australian Journal of Entomology | Year: 2010

We investigated the efficacy of insecticides combined with a plant volatile-based attractant for Helicoverpa armigera moths, under laboratory and field conditions. In the laboratory, 16 insecticides were assessed by the level of mortality and time to incapacitate and kill moths. The proboscis extension reflex technique was used for dosing moths. The pyrethroids, bifenthrin (only when synergised by the addition of piperonyl butoxide (PBO) but not without it) and cyfluthrin (with or without PBO), endosulfan, the carbamates methomyl and thiodicarb, and spinosad killed all moths tested at rates equivalent to, or less than, those which would be applied in cover sprays targeting larvae. The shortest time to moth incapacitation and death was observed with methomyl and thiodicarb. Spinosad produced very high mortality but moths took much longer to die. The two pyrethroids gave relatively slow kills, as did endosulfan. In a field trial, four insecticides were combined with the attractant and dead moths were collected daily from 1 to 4 days after application of the attracticide on 50 m rows of cotton. Significantly more dead moths (H. armigera, H. punctigera and other noctuids) were found near the rows treated with attracticide containing methomyl compared with spinosad, fipronil and deltamethrin. For determining the impact of attracticides by recovering dead moths, quick acting insecticides are required to prevent moths flying away from the treated area to locations where they cannot be found. Methomyl and thiodicarb are suitable for this, but other insecticides especially spinosad could be used where quick action is not needed. Large numbers of moths were killed in the field trial, suggesting that attracticides for female Helicoverpa spp. moths could have significant impacts on local populations of these pests. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Australian Entomological Society. Source

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