Advancing innovation in systems approaches

What opportunities are there to improve systems approaches into the future?

An important benefit of systems approaches is that they allow risk-reducing activities that are already occurring in production systems and supply chains to be formally recognised.

The review of systems approach protocols currently in use showed that most follow similar formats and use well-established, well accepted measures such as pest monitoring with consequence, field hygiene, calendar spraying, and visual or biometric inspection of fruit. A few protocols included measures such as quality grading of fruit and post-harvest conditions such as cold storage.

From the review, some valuable opportunities to drive innovation and improvement have been identified:

  • None of the protocols reviewed incorporated newer technologies such as non-destructive detection of insects in fruit through inline infrared or optical scanning. This indicates that future protocols could incorporate a wider range of measures and apply new or emerging technologies or innovations.
  • Outcomes-based or risk-based measures were rarely used, such as providing an option for growers to determine how best to keep pest populations under specified thresholds. There is significant scope to develop protocols that are more consistent with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles and enable growers to apply pest control measures informed by monitoring results. By shifting away from a requirement for prescribed pest control applications – or ‘calendar sprays’ – systems approaches could drive a reduction in pesticide use.