The availability of water in the landscape significantly impacts the presence of fauna including the number of beneficials (insects, birds & bats) present to assist in pest management.

Native vegetation near water sources such as water storages, rivers, creeks, wetlands and even channels are generally healthier and have much higher populations of beneficials and other types of fauna than vegetation that is not near water.

Insects generally get their water from rain drops or dew, however in dry periods such as the current drought they rely more on other sources of water…

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Groundcover is any material on or near the soil surface, including living and dead plants, plant litter, bark, leaves, manure and rocks. Most of us are aware of the importance of maintaining groundcover for protecting soils from erosion, moderating soil temperature and capturing rainfall and nutrients which are important for soil and plant health. Less well known is the important role groundcover, in particular surface litter, plays in providing habitat for fauna and sources of propagules (seeds, pores and suckers) for riparian and floodplain vegetation regeneration.

The dead…

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Did you know that over 70 species of terrestrial wildlife (reptiles, birds, frogs and small mammals) found on cotton farms use logs and rocks as habitat? 

Unfortunately, simplification of habitat, ie the removal of the diversity of materials that form habitat such as logs, is threatening the existence of many of these species in agricultural landscapes.

Large hollow and decomposing logs provide the most useful habitat however these can take up to 200 years to form as they have to grow, die and become log habitat. Not only do logs provide habitat but they also provide an…

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Trees with hollows - both dead and alive - are a habitat requirement for many of our native animals. According to the research of Gibbens and Lindenmayer in 1997, around 17 per cent of birds, 42 per cent of mammals and 28 per cent of reptiles in south eastern Australia use hollows - including possums, gliders, microbats, parrots, owls, ducks, rosellas, kingfishers as well as many species of snakes, frogs and skinks.

Hollow formation occurs mainly in eucalyptus species such as gums and box trees. River Red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), commonly found on…

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By Stacey Vogel, CottonInfo NRM Technical Lead.

Domestic stock - particularly cattle - tend to favour riparian lands and if not managed carefully will spend much of their time along riverbanks and in the water, which results in a number of problems such as:

Reduced water quality through increased manure and urine in the water, Increased sedimentation of rivers shallowing riverbeds and deep waterholes as banks erode from trafficking and removal of vegetation Simplification of riparian vegetation communities through selective grazing of native species seedlings, and… Read More

By Stephen Balcombe and Samantha Capon, Griffith University (supported by CRDC). Pictured: Peter Norrie & Dr Stephen Balcombe.

For cotton farms with streams and riverine areas, healthy functioning riparian zones represent significant areas of high biodiversity and play a large role in the provision of ecosystem services. Such services include natural pest control (beneficials), prevention of soil erosion, water filtration, shade provision, shelter and barrier effects, pollination and aesthetic human benefits.

Griffith University has been undertaking research…

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Silverleaf whitefly (SLW) management mid-to-late season:

SLW have become more numerous in most regions during February and many crops have been treated with pyriproxifen during the 30 day resistance management window. Now that cotton is opening and crops are moving towards defoliation, it is vital to continue to keep a close eye on populations to avoid a sticky situation.

Top 4 tips for managing SLW mid-season:

The main game for SLW management is to avoid honeydew contamination of open bolls. Good management is underpinned by season-long IPM, effective monitoring and taking…

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Since European settlement many plants and animals have been introduced to Australia, many of which have spread and multiplied becoming significant agricultural and environmental problems.

It's estimated that invasive species cost Australia billions of dollars annually in reduced agricultural outputs, and management, administrative and research costs. Invasive species are damaging and decimating native ecosystems and wildlife across Australia through predation, habitat destruction, disease and competition for resources such as food and shelter.

Controlling invasive…

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For the month of February, the top NRM tip is: restore, regenerate, and revegetate.
A cotton growers perspective - Jamie Grant

Jamie and Susie Grant own and manage over 2000 hectares across two farms, 'Kielli' and 'Wyalong', located on the Jimbour Brigalow Flood Plains near Dalby in southern Qld.

The Grants have always been innovators and are early adopters of best management practices. They have been participants in the Australian cotton industry’s myBMP program for several years, achieving myBMP certification in 2016 and for the past two years have been participants…

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For the month of January, the top NRM tip is: think beyond the crop, consider your surrounding natural areas.

To improve the abundance and diversity of natural predators and pollinators (like the European honey bee), consider native vegetation as part of your cropping system. Research shows that native vegetation along field edges can increase pest control in the field, and if pressure is still high, pollination can reduce the yield loss.

Native vegetation helps natural predators, such as insects, birds bats, frogs, lizards and some small mammals, persist in the landscape…

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