Area wide management (AWM) is when growers or advisers approach pest management as a group in a geographic area, rather than on individual farms. AWM is particularly relevant for pest species that are mobile, have a wide host range (crop and non-crop), and are locally generated in the farming system, and enables management strategies on a larger-scale that may be may be more effective than a paddock-by-paddock approach.
AWM has had two key objectives:
- reduce overall pest pressure in participating regions by manipulating the size of the local population
- manage insecticide resistance through coordinated rotation of insecticide groups.
An example of AWM in Australian broadacre agricultural system – The management of Helicoverpa armigera in the cotton-grain systems of Queensland and NSW.
The aim of the AWM strategy was not to eradicate H. armigera, but to reduce the extreme pest pressure to a level that could be managed effectively with ‘soft’ options that caused minimal disruption to the whole system. The H. armigera population is largely generated locally in the wide range of winter and summer crops that it uses as hosts. Because all crops in a region may potentially contribute to the H. armigera population, and the moth is highly mobile, an AWM approach was used.
The strategy involved the implementation of new tactics (e.g. trap cropping) as well as improved coordination of general management. Importantly, the strategy took a year-round approach to the management of H. armigera (Figure 1). The involvement of the majority of growers in a region was critical, regardless of what they were growing. Regular group meetings and commitment to implementing the tactics that made up the strategy were vital, as was the research support that demonstrated the efficacy of these tactics and communicated results to the participants.
Note: The AWM did not apply to H. punctigera (an annual migrant from inland regions, meaning that there are no opportunities to manage its population other than in-crop).
Figure 1. A general area wide management strategy for H. armigera population suppression – developed for the Queensland Darling Downs 1998.
Click on above image for larger version.