COTTON producers may be able to enlist their smart phones in the battle against silverleaf whitefly (SLW) with the development of an app designed to help growers detect SLW nymphs.
SLW is a pest that can reduce yield and quality in cotton through feeding and the excretion of honey dew.
Cotton Info wrote in its newsletter that the Cotton PestDetect App was a digital tool being developed to assist with sampling for SLW nymphs by providing image-derived insect counts using a phone camera.
Following an initial test run last season, researchers at the University of Southern Queensland and QLD DAF improved the accuracy of the camera app which now includes a range of new features.
From there, growers can use a decision support tool to calculate potential numbers later in the season and assess what controls are needed.
This year, Cotton Info said a wetter and cooler season has slowed the rate of SLW population development across most regions compared to previous years.
However, with a run of warm, dry weather, recent samples of crops across many regions indicates that SLW are established and populations could rapidly increase, particularly if conditions continue to be hot and dry during late February.
The contamination issue is the major threat to industry, with the major focus of SLW management to prevent honeydew contamination of open cotton bolls.
Cotton Info said a light sparkle on the top sides of the lower canopy leaves is a warning sign that honeydew is starting to accrue within the crop.
If this sparkle develops from pin prick spots to pencil sized dots within a week and is progressing towards a leaf sheen, control options may be required.