SA04NQ-03: Pest Management


Research Site/Demonstration Number: SA04NQ-03

Grower Collaborator: Piñata Farms – Mareeba

Location 3: Carmen Road, Paddys Green

Start date: April 2019.

OUTLINE: To compare and evaluate current and new fumigation products and their application targeting improvements in cost efficiencies and pest efficacy (including an exotic pest biosecurity issue, Dickeya spp.) in plant and ratoon crop yield in 73-114 (MD2).


  1. To improve the methodology of applying fumigation to pineapple fields.
  2. To compare current and new fumigation products for yield improvements, pest efficacy and cost. 
  3. To undertake a cost analysis of the different fumigation products.
  4. To increase yield in plant crop but mainly ratoon crops.
  5. To identify efficacy of fumigation to the full range of soil borne pineapple pests including exotic pest species (Dickeya spp.).


The trial site has followed a previous crop of 73-114 (MD2) hybrid which was taken to plant and ratoon crop. The previous crop harvested at industry standards in spring 2018 with issues of Dickeya sp. 

Application of treatments were undertaken with direction from ‘R and R Fumigation Services’ in May 2019.  Treatments were applied at full and half rates to allow an economic analysis (including yield) against efficacy comparison.  Industry standard fumigation costs range from $1,800 – $2,500/hectare depending on the type of fumigant. The site was planted with MD2 slips of a medium size.

The soil was prepared to standard industry conditions with good soil tilth, no crop residue and good soil moisture with a pH of 4.5.  Weather leading up to application had good rainfall with temperatures ranging from 20 – 30°C. 

The application was undertaken with a modified fumigation rig with the spacing of outlets at 30cm applied at a soil depth of 40cm.  The soil was sealed with a tyre roller.

Modified Fumigation Rig


Treatments were applied at a low and high rates (except Metham Sodium and Rural Telone) to compare and evaluate pest and disease efficacy, fumigation cost and return on investment through potential improvements in yield and fruit quality.

Site Location – Carmen Road Mareeba


  • Pest and disease assessment: Pre-plant, 4, 6, 9, 12, 24 30, 36 and 48 months
  • Crop growth assessment: Pre-plant, 4, 6, 9, 12, 24 30, 36 and 48 months
  • Yield assessment: Plant and ratoon harvest: 24 and 48 months
  • Cost analysis: 48 months



January 2019
Treatments planned and site has been selected

Early May 2019
Site – land prepared
Treatments applied
Bed formed and planted

Late August 2019
Pest and disease assessments
Crop health assessments

November 2019
Pest and disease assessments
Crop health assessments

ISSUES ENCOUNTERED: There was extreme difficulty finding a correctly set up fumigation rig.  The grower did major changes on his own rig to meet the fumigation application requirements.

OTHER NOTES: Grower spent approximately $4,000 on modifications to fumigation rig to complete the trial.


The following results are those taken at 4 months after planting.  The results reflect measurements in crop growth and root health. Six random samples were taken across each treatment area and measurements averaged. 

General observations of the crop at 4 months of age indicate:

  • There are no obvious differences in leaf colour or irregular growth of the crop.
  • There is no presence of Phytophthora root rot or insect damage on any root systems.
  • There were low levels of nematode damage (brooming) on the Metham Sodium treatment.
  • There are differences in plant weights, number of roots and root weight between treatments.
  • Root establishment appears to have improved with fumigation when compared the control.
  • Fumigants with the combination of 1, 3-dichloropropene and chloropicrin have performed better than Metham Sodium and Telone alone.  However, in this heavier soil type 85% chloropicrin has performed better than the other fumigants.
  • Higher rates have performed better than the lower rates.
  • No signs or symptoms of Dickeya were identified.


Within this research trial both low and high application rates of fumigants were compared to understand efficacy and improvements in yield (plant and ratoon crop). Comparisons will be made on the cost of the fumigant and the return on investment.  The cost of the individual fumigants are below:

Note: This table does not include application costs or varying costs of freight between regions and suppliers.

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