AgPest – a decision support tool for New Zealand’s pastoral industry
AgPest is a website (www.agpest.co.nz) that provides relevant, up-to-date and independent information on the identification and control of pastoral pests and weeds to support New Zealand farmers and rural professionals with decision making around pest and weed management. In addition, AgPest provides timely advice that will reduce the need for ‘fire-fighting’ decisions, late treatment and, sometimes, pesticide use. The ultimate goal is to reduce the economic impact of pastoral weed control (estimated impact ≈ NZ$ 1.2 billion p.a.) and invertebrate pests (estimated impact ≈ $4.1 billion p.a.) through more targeted management, thereby increasing pasture persistence and productivity.
Since its launch in 2011, AgResearch scientists have added over 100 entries (70 weeds and 32 pests), each with information on the weed or pest biology, management and impact. An identification tool and pictures assist users to rapidly and accurately identify weeds and pests. In collaboration with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, alerts on weeds and pests are disseminated through various social media channels. This provides farmers with timely information that enables a rapid response, which is often critical to minimise the impact of weeds and pests. Key features of AgPest will be displayed.