Dr Pip Gerard says a study has shown a relationship between black beetle persistence in pastures and plant pH.
Funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund, the two-year project will test new on farm tools for eradicating black beetle on New Zealand farms.
AgResearch scientists were setting up trial sites on Waikato farm paddocks last month. One of these trials will test the effectiveness of a new biopesticide bait developed from a bacteria naturally found in soils.
A new Sustainable Farming Fund project will test new tools of stopping Black Beetles damaging Waikato pastures.
AgResearch scientist Pip Gerard said the bait had been successful in smaller trials where it had killed adult black beetles.
“This year we have large scale trials involving at least nine paddocks and we’re seeing if treating the beetles in spring – which is the ones out now – will stop them laying eggs and therefore protect the pastures.”
The trials will also continue work done in a previous three-year Sustainable Farming Fund study, which showed there was a relationship between black beetle persistence in pastures and plant pH.
“The plants that had the worst problems of black beetle hanging around had the lowest pH,” Gerard said.
The scientists would look at the timing of lime applications and its effects on black beetle growth in its early life stage.
Black beetle larvae live on soil organic matter and putting lime when they are around disturbs the availability of organic matter when they are getting established.