Current and Potential Costs of Invertebrate Pests in Grain Crops (2012)

The grains industry attracts significant public funds for research, development and extension. Part of these funds are raised from production levies that are matched by government funds and then invested by bodies such as the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). Allocation of resources for the control of invertebrate pests depends on an assessment of the losses caused by those pests. This applies both at the individual level, when a grower decides whether control of a particular pest is warranted, and at the national level, when funds are allocated for research, development and extension on pest management. Gordon Murray and John Brennan developed estimates of the current and potential costs of diseases in Australia for wheat, barley, pulses and oilseeds (Murray and Brennan 2009, 2010). The GRDC requested a similar study of the current and potential costs of invertebrate pests, to assist in the allocation of resources for pest management. There were no comprehensive studies estimating costs of invertebrate pests in Australian grain crops, although estimates have been provided for some individual pest/crop situations (Adamson et al. 1997, Henzell et al. 1996). Furthermore, while action thresholds drive treatment for most pests, very few of these have been derived from empirical analysis. There is also evidence to suggest that a move from tillage towards minimum or no-tillage farming systems and a changing climate have altered the status of invertebrate pests in the Australian grain industry (Hoffman et al. 2008). Analysis of current and potential costs of invertebrate pests was completed by Dr Dave Murray, Michael Clarke and David Ronning. The study is available at