Implementing ant technology in commercial cashew plantations and continuation of transplanted green ant colony monitoring

Implementing ant technology in commercial cashew plantations and continuation of transplanted green ant colony monitoring

Title
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsPeng, R, Christian, KA, Gibb, KS
Pagination1 - 72
Date Published01/01/04
InstitutionRural Industries Research and Development Corporation
CityCanberra
ISBN Number0642587981
Abstract

The aims of this project were completed successfully, and they included the continued monitoring of transplanted green ant colonies at Howard Springs, the production of instructive materials for cashew farmers, and the implementation of the green ant technology in a cashew plantations at LaBelle Downs Station. Field monitoring showed that the transplanted ant colonies, on average, persisted in the cashew orchards for three cashew cropping seasons. Compared with the costs associated with the insecticide spray area, using green ant colonies to manage the main insect pests allows cashew growers to achieve a savings of $235/ha/year in maintenance costs. Apart from better quality of cashew nuts, trees protected by transplanted ant colonies also produced yields of 861 kg/ha/year more cashew nuts than trees protected by insecticides. The combined benefits of the green ant technology account to at least $1500/ha/year compared to the use of insecticides. Colony age is an important factor responsible for the period of persistence of the colony in cashew orchards. Our results indicate that colonies between the ages of 1.5 and 2 years are suitable to transplant, and the age is easily determined in the field. A booklet "Why and how to use green ants to control the main cashew insect pests - Manual for Australian cashew growers" has been written to facilitate the implementation of green ant technology. It covers all aspects of appropriately using green ants to control insect pests in cashew plantations. A series of posters has been made based on the contents of the booklet to highlight the most important procedures of the ant technology. Two field workshops and one training course were held at LaBelle Downs Station and Northern Territory University to transfer the ant technology to cashew growers.

URLhttp://espace.cdu.edu.au/view/cdu:7042

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