|Abstract||Infestations of soldier fly (Inopus spp.) cause losses to sugarcane in areas from Innisfail to
New South Wales. Cane losses attributable to soldier fly in Queensland in 1995 were
estimated at 24 000 t, and the annual cost of soldier fly infestations to farmers and millers
probably exceeds $1M. The number of farms affected by soldier fly at Mackay is
increasing, and the pest has recently appeared at Ayr where it has not been recorded
previously. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, losses attributable to soldier fly in
Queensland were up to 80 000 t of cane per year on a much smaller assigned area. The
pest was subsequently controlled by the application of dieldrin, but this chemical is no
longer available and alternatives have not been found. With the loss of dieldrin, there is a
high potential for a disastrous increase in losses.
|Abstract||Cane losses could be reduced by agricultural practices that maximise the resistance of
sugarcane to soldier fly attack, eg growing varieties that are inherently resistant to soldier
fly and managing conditions for crop growth.
|Abstract||Past observations suggest that varieties of cane may respond differently to soldier fly
(Moller, 1965). In a previous glasshouse experiment, two clones responded differently
when exposed to a range of densities of soldier fly larvae (Samson et al., 1993). This
indicates that screening commercial varieties for resistance may be feasible, and varieties
could be recommended for planting in soldier fly-prone areas.
|Abstract||Environmental factors also may influence the response of cane to soldier fly. Untested
observations suggest that germination of cane setts is more likely to be affected if autumn planting is late, and ratooning is more likely to be affected if harvesting is early (Moller,
1968). Such changes may reflect different effects of temperature on development rates of plants and insects, as has been measured in some other agricultural systems (eg Samson
and Geier, 1983). Planting or harvesting date, soil moisture content, and fertiliser
application could be manipulated to reduce cane losses, if their effect on the interaction
between soldier fly larvae and cane was understood.
|Abstract||The development of practices for maximising the resistance of sugarcane to soldier fly
would have multiple benefits within an integrated pest management program. Not only
would crop losses be reduced directly, but additional time would also be available for
natural enemies of soldier fly to build up and exert control before crop damage reached
|Part of Series||BSES Internal Report; 1996 No 811 Report SD96002
|Title||Maximising the resistance of sugarcane to soldier fly : SRDC final report BS61S