Cotton is now Australia's fourth largest agricultural export, despite the fact that insect pests have plagued the industry for more than 40 years.
The first cotton growing attempts on the Ord River in the far north-west of Australia ended in disaster as the insects developed resistance to the many chemical sprays which were used. Now, a more ecologically sound approach has paid off. With the help of science, farmers are now turning to a technique called 'Insect Resistance Management' which provides a sustainable way of keeping ahead of the insects. It involves a range of strategies which minimise the use of chemical sprays.
Caterpillars and Cotton
explores the biology of cotton's worst insect pest, Heliothis
, and the role of scientific research in coming to terms with it.
Produced in 1993.