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Archive for the ‘Crop protection’ Category

 

Agriculture Sector

Agriculture is a key sector in the Yemeni economy, providing the main source of employment for 54% of the population and producing 17.5% of the gross domestic product in 2010. The major agricultural products include fruits (999,256 t), vegetables (1,032,414 t), and cereals (863,934 t), but productivity and production are low and rarely sufficient to meet domestic demand. The financial crisis in 2009, and the subsequent drop in oil prices, and current political turmoil has driven the country to the brink of economic collapse, especially the agricultural research activities. Among the many problems in Yemen, food insecurity is the most serious.

 

Plant Protection Sub-Sector

The plant protection sub-sector, in Yemen, has been severely affected by the tragic events. The Tehama Development Authority and three agricultural research stations, including departments of plant protection, and, one honeybee center, have been destroyed and/or totally looted. The financial crisis has hit the entire agricultural sub-sector stopping most (99%) of current foreign/international and local funded research and activities. In addition, the government has not paid the salaries of most of the employees including the agricultural sector, and educational sector. Meanwhile, there is an increase in the cost of agricultural inputs due to an increase in the exchange rate of foreign currencies, and corruption.

What is the solution?

 

  1. Financial crisis- Funding must be allocated for salaries and the replacement of destroyed facilities of the plant protection sub-sector. This could be performed by the re-building of infrastructures, supporting the revitalization of programs and activities, and to encourage investment in the field of plant protection.

 

  1. Education level: The educational level of farmers in Yemen is generally quite low; the illiteracy rate in Yemen is 48%. This has resulted in the use of incorrect practices to control pests and manage honeybees, using extensive application of pesticides, and a lack of awareness among farmers of the importance of integrated pest management. For this reason, we must initiate a vast awareness campaign before attempting to promote IPM packages.
  1. Invasive exotic, migratory and cross-border insects and endemic diseases-: The following are major threats to production and management strategies must be developed.

 

The red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Oliv. was first recorded in Yemen in 2013 and has recently become one of the major date palm pests in Yemen. The infestation is currently in three directorates in Hadhramout governorate (Eastern plateau zone), a major area for palm cultivation. An emergency project has been launched by FAO in Yemen to manage this pest.

The South American tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta Meyrick, first reported in Yemen in 2012 has been recorded on 304 farms in 88 districts. About 70 percent of the tomato crop examined was infested with the pest. Without an effective control program, potential damage to Yemen’s vegetable crop could exceed $300 million.

 

Dubas bug, Ommatissus lybicus Bergevin is a serious sucking pest of date palm. It was recorded in 2002. It has disrupted production in the eastern coast and plateau zones. It causes direct and indirect damage to palm and cultivated trees under date palm.

 

Wheat rust disease, Ug99 is a lineage of wheat stem rust spread from Africa, Uganda-Kenya to Yemen in 2006. In the key wheat growing areas of the country, during October 2010 to March 2011, stem rust was widespread in the highlands and western areas. Due to the current conflict the current status of stem rust races in the conflict-ridden areas of Yemen are unknown.

 

Desert locust. Locust monitoring, early warning and preventive control measures are believed to have played an important role in the decline in the frequency and duration of plagues since the 1960s; however, today climate change is leading to more frequent, unpredictable and extreme weather and poses fresh challenges on how to monitor and respond to locust activity. The conflict is severely hampering control operations and the locust thus poses a potential threat to crops in the region.

  1. Apiculture- Honey is a high value crop in Yemen. In 2013, production was 2,614 t, and revenue about 19,611 million2. Apiculture in Yemen faces many problems, and productivity is the lowest as compared to other Arab countries. In the conflict-ridden areas, the situation is the worst it has ever been. This is due to the limitation and/or restriction of beekeepers’ mobility between locations of bee forage plants, targeting apicultures and beekeepers’ by airstrikes or looting, and high prices of apicultural inputs and transport.

 

  1. Protected cultivation- In recent years, protected cultivation (plastic tunnels) has significantly increased, even in the conflict-ridden areas. They are most often used in the northern, central and southern highland zones of Yemen. They are used extensively for cash crops, mainly cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries. Protected cultivation could be the agricultural future and one of important technologies to reduce food insecurity and improve the incomes of rural households in Yemen. However, here is a lack of information on the proper use protected cultivation and the problems that farmers face such as the extensive use of pesticides.

 

  1. Quarantine- Activation of plant quarantine measures at functioning ports, instead of destroyed ports, is very important in the current situation as quarantine is the first defense against exotic insects and diseases.

 

7. Pesticides- Pesticides are extensively and incorrectly used to control pests, particularly on khat/gat and vegetables (mostly under protected cultivation). About 1,152, 963 t of pesticides were imported during 2013. Pesticides cause a negative impact on humans and the environment resulting in 16,000-17,000 cancer cases each year in Yemen. In addition, agricultural exports are sometimes rejected because of a high value of pesticide residue. Therefore, increasing the monitoring measures and revisions in the pesticide regulations, and farmer training are necessary.

 

 Summary

Yemen’s agricultural sector has significantly shrunk mainly due to the current conflict and this has negatively affected the plant protection sub-sector. The investment in the plant protection sub-sector is one of the keys to increase agricultural production and productivity resulting in food security and to improve the livelihood of Yemenis. The emerging issues 1)the financial crisis, 2) educational level, and 3) management of exotic insects and diseases and honeybees are high priorities that must be given consideration and urgent intervention by the plant protection sub-sector.

 

Maher A. Moraiet                         Sana’a, Yemen- April 16, 2017

Division of Entomology

Department of Plant Protection

Agriculture Research Station – Seiyun

Agricultural Research and Extension Authority

P.Box :9041 Seiyun, Hadramout, Yemen

Email: maher.moraiet@gmail.com

Yemen 1

Destruction of the Agricultural Research Station, Bajl- Hodeidah  

 Yemen 2

Direct shelling of of screen houses at Imran

 Yemen 3

Direct shelling of agricultural research fields – Yarm – Ab 

Source: http://agricultureyemen.com

Yemen 4     Yemen 5

The scene of destruction and looting of the Agricultural Research Station in Bajl- Hodeidah – Alcod, after the war with Qada in Abyan, Yemen

Source: www.adengd.net

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Endure

Welcome to the 23rd edition of ENDURE News, the electronic newsletter from ENDURE. Please feel free to share this newsletter with colleagues.

  • Reducing reliance on conventional pesticides
    Experts from ENDURE and the European Research Area Network in Coordinated Integrated Pest Management (ERA-Net C-IPM) have reviewed the current state of the art of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) research and development, with a particular focus on how European agriculture is moving from conventional crop protection systems to IPM systems less reliant on pesticides, the major challenges encountered during this transition and future priorities to overcome existing IPM R&D challenges and so facilitate the uptake of more sustainable crop protection systems in European agriculture.
  • IPM: A leap of faith or a confident step?
    Recent issues relating to proposed withdrawals of key pesticides for farmers in the European Union, including neonicotinoids (pollinator loss concerns) and glyphosate (for example, weed resistance, health and biodiversity loss concerns) have raised the profile of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) amongst stakeholders as a potential way forward for more sustainable crop protection, write Nick Birch, Graham Begg, Cathy Hawes and Geoff Squire from Scotland’s James Hutton Institute.
  • C-IPM publishes strategic research agenda for IPM
    A strategic research agenda for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Europe has been prepared by Coordinated Integrated Pest Management (C-IPM), the European Research Area Network (ERA-Net) seeking to align national research programmes on IPM in Europe.
  • Apply now for 2016 Summer School
    Applications are now being accepted for ENDURE’s 2016 Summer School. Focusing on ‘The role of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in mitigating the effects of climate change on pest dynamics – modelling approaches’, the Summer School will run from October 9 to 14, 2016.
  • Herbicide-tolerant crops in IWM
    Scientists have proposed five actions to facilitate the incorporation of herbicide-tolerant crops in Integrated Weed Management (IWM) systems and have emphasised that the same approach should be taken whether the crops are conventionally bred or genetically modified to be herbicide-resistant.
  • ENDURE says thanks to founding member
    ENDURE said goodbye and thanks to an old friend and one of its founding members in May, with the retirement of Piet Boonekamp (left in photograph) of Wageningen University and Research Centre’s Plant Research International. He has been replaced on the ENDURE Executive Committee by his former colleague, Willem Jan de Kogel.
  • DEPHY: Real-life examples of change
    One of the cornerstones of France’s attempts to reduce pesticide use in agriculture is the DEPHY network which, alongside an experimental system, comprises 1,900 farms which are taking various approaches to ensure a more parsimonious use of pesticides. These farms now have several years of experience behind them and thanks to the production of ‘trajectory sheets’, which chart the motives for change, the steps taken, the successes and the setbacks, it is possible to get a fascinating insight into real-life examples of change.
  • Interview: Jürgen Köhl, BIOCOMES
    The BIOCOMES (‘Biological control manufacturers in Europe develop novel biological control products to support the implementation of Integrated Pest Management in agriculture and forestry’) project is aiming to deliver at least 11 new biological products to control significant diseases and pests over the coming years. With the project, which brings together 27 business and research partners from 14 different countries, passing the halfway point, ENDURE spoke to BIOCOMES coordinator Jürgen Köhl from Wageningen UR in the Netherlands.
  • Learning from PURE: Grapevine
    While the area dedicated to vineyards may have shrunk across Europe over the past decade, grape production remains very important, with European vineyards accounting for more than half of the world’s total vineyard surface. And it’s a crop which offers particular challenges for Integrated Pest Management (IPM), because pesticide use generally remains high and some of the options available in annual crops, such as rotations, are not feasible.
  • Sustainability indicators added to Italy NAP
    Researchers from the Institute of Life Sciences at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, one of ENDURE’s Italian partners, have played a central role in establishing a new set of indicators for the sustainability of cropping systems, which is to be added to Italy’s National Action Plan (NAP).
  • Sustainable weed control: what France has learned
    Given Europe’s desire to cultivate crops in more sustainable ways less dependent on chemical inputs, the problem of weed control in arable crops remains an important stumbling block. To address this, France has made considerable investments in trials and research, with the knowledge gathered providing possibilities for reducing herbicide use while guarding agronomic and economic performance. Here we report on a major meeting held to discuss progress and provide links to a raft of further information.
  • UK invests in innovative agriculture
    The United Kingdom is investing £68 million (€87 million) in the launch of three new Centres for Agricultural Innovation, focusing on crop health and protection, agricultural engineering and precision farming, and excellence in livestock production. The three new centres will collaborate with the first Centre for Agricultural Innovation, launched late last year, which is called Agrimetrics and deals with data science and modelling.
  • France’s EcophytoPIC continues to expand
    The development of France’s portal dedicated to Integrated Pest Management is an ongoing process, providing access to lots of interesting information to those with a knowledge of French or a good translation program. New pages added to the EcophytoPIC site include, for example, sections dedicated to conservation biological control (using functional biodiversity), the mass release of beneficial insects and an examination of the ongoing experimental work on entovectoring.
  • Learning from PURE: Protected crops
    One of the legacies of the PURE project (‘Innovative crop protection for sustainable agriculture’) is a range of resources to encourage the implementation of Integrated Pest Management solutions in a selection of crops. Of these, comprehensive material is available for IPM in protected crops, with a particular focus on tomato production.
  • New website for EuroWheat
    EuroWheat, the European knowledge hub which has its origins in the original ENDURE Network of Excellence (2007-2010), now has a new website and logo. As EuroWheat explains on its new site, wheat remains one of Europe’s most important crops and its production faces some particular challenges.
  • Potato blight info now online
    The proceedings of EuroBlight’s 15th workshop, held in Brasov, Romania, in 2015, are now available on the network’s website. The main objective of the workshop was to present and discuss recent results on integrated control of late and early blight in potato.
  • Scottish partner hosts Technical Day
    The James Hutton Institute, ENDURE’s Scottish partner, staged a Technical Day for Farmers on June 9 this year. Building on the successful event two years ago, the 2016 Technical Day highlighted science and practice around topical issues including soil management and soil conservation, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), nitrogen usage and cycling including N-fixation, precision agriculture and the design of field margins and boundaries.
  • Projects to combat hairy root disease and mites
    More news of projects launched under Coordinated Integrated Pest Management’s (C-IPM) first call is now available, providing details of plans to tackle hairy root disease in minor crops and mites in berries, soft fruits and woody ornamentals.
  • Follow IPM news on social media
    Alongside the ENDURE Twitter feed (@ENDURE_ERG), it is now possible to follow developments on France’s Integrated Pest Management portal, EcophytoPIC, through social media thanks to the launch of a Twitter service and Facebook page.
  • SMaCH results to be aired
    The results of projects launched in 2013 by INRA’s Sustainable Management of Crop Health (SMaCH) metaprogramme will be presented at a two-day workshop (in French) this autumn, alongside four theses supported by the programme.
  • New focus on potato late blight
    A new project is seeking to understand why, despite much research and many breakthroughs, late blight in potato remains stubbornly difficult to control with efficient and environmentally friendly methods.
  • C-IPM projects to tackle wireworms and weeds
    More details of the projects selected for funding under the first C-IPM (Coordinated Integrated Pest Management) call are now available, revealing the ambition to tackle wireworm control and weeds in maize and winter wheat through Decision Support Systems (DSS).
  • News from BIOCOMES
    The latest newsletter from BIOCOMES is now available, providing readers with updates on some of the 11 new biological control products the project is developing for a number of important pests and diseases in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.
  • Events calendar: Check it out!
    We regularly update our events calendar and five new events have been recently added. New events include July’s SIP2016 – International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control and 49th Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology in France’s Loire Valley and the following month’s 32nd European Society of Nematologists (ESN) symposium in Braga, Portugal.
  • New group to boost European agroecology
    A new association has been created to promote agroecology in Europe. Called Agroecology Europe, its 19 founding members come from 10 countries across the continent, including representatives from several ENDURE partners.
  • SSSA evaluates biopesticide dossiers
    ENDURE partner Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa (SSSA) has been appointed by the Italian Ministry of Health (MinSal) as one of the research institutes responsible for the scientific evaluation of dossiers relating to the registration, re-registration and renewal of authorisations for biopesticides. Professor Paolo Bàrberi is the scientist responsible for this agreement.
  • Network launched for enhanced fruit production
    A thematic network focusing on fruit production in the European Union has been launched, with the ambition of unleashing, stimulating and using Europe’s research potential to exploit new opportunities in the fresh produce category. Called EUFRUIT, it brings together 21 partners from 12 different countries and is being funded under the Horizon 2020 programme.
  • Seven IPM projects get green light
    The results of the first call for proposals from the Coordinated Integrated Pest Management in Europe (C-IPM) ERA-NET have now been published, with seven research projects selected.
  • New project to ‘deepen sustainability’
    A new European Union-funded project has been launched to “deepen the roots of sustainability in agri-food systems by harnessing scientific and local knowledge, people’s energy, motivation and innovation skills around the theme of agro-biodiversity by making use of novel, improved and demand-driven ICT (information communications technology) solutions”.
  • International conference for ecological sciences
    Abstracts are now being accepted for the French Ecological Society’s 2016 international conference (Sfécologie 2016), which will run from October 24 to 28 in Marseille, France, and host around 500 oral contributions and 400 posters.
  • IPM news from the Near East
    The latest issue of the Arab and Near East Plant Protection Newsletter (ANEPPNEL), published jointly by the Arab Society for Plant Protection and the Near East Regional Office of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, is now available.
  • To find out more about ENDURE, visit: www.endure-network.eu

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First Announcement:

The Malaysian Plant Protection Society (MAPPS) is pleased to organize the 9th International Conference on Plant Protection in the Tropics (9th ICPPT) from August 3 – 5, 2016, at Hilton Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia with the theme “Healthy Crops for a Healthy World”

The conference will focus on developments in the science of plant protection and discuss challenges faced by researchers, practitioners and consumers on problems related to plant protection. The programme will accommodate a keynote address with two plenary papers, concurrent oral sessions and poster presentations.

The conference will cover the following subjects:

  • Plant Pathology
  • Entomology
  • Biocontrol and Biopesticide
  • Biosecurity and Invasive species
  • Biotechnology and Diagnostic Advancement
  • Epidemiology and Modelling
  • Good Agriculture Practices
  • Pesticide Science
  • Pest Management
  • Pesticide Application Technology
  • Urban Pest Management
  • Vertebrate Pests
  • Weed Science

For more information:

Download the first announcement PDF full brochure (revised) for details on conference fee and payment information.

Online registration

Online registration is available HERE or at the following URL:
http://mapps.org.my/9th-icppt-registration

Submission of extended abstracts

Extended abstracts submissions are for oral or poster presentations. Submission deadline is April 30, 2016. Please send us your abstract, together with information on the presenting author, as an attachment per e-mail before the deadline.

More detailed information will be provided in a second announcement later this year (December). In addition, updates will be regularly posted on the MAPPS website.

Important deadlines

  1. Extended abstracts due : April 30, 2016.
  2. Early bird payment due : April 30, 2016.
  3. Regular payment due : June 30, 2016.

Payment Information

Below are the details for the payment instructions. Direct bank transfers in RM/USD should be routed to:

Account name: 9th ICPPT
Bank name: Maybank
Account no.: 012147500839
Swift code: MBBEMYKL

Students should provide a valid proof of current student status. Delegates will receive a receipt after payment is successfully received

Updates

Contact information

Dr. Siti Izera Ismail
Secretary of 9th ICPPT
Department of Plant Protection, Block E,
Universiti Putra Malaysia,
43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan,
MALAYSIA.
Phone:
Fax : +603 8938 1014
E-mail: 9thicppt@gmail.com

 

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ipm_in_8_principle_s_large

IPM in (8) principle(s)

August 05, 2015

An ENDURE team of 17 co-authors has just published a review paper on the European Union’s eight principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The paper provides researchers, advisers and farmers with an approach for applying these legal requirements intelligently to promote local innovation while reducing reliance on pesticides and associated risks. The authors hope that interest in this approach may help garner support from European and national policy makers to set incentives promoting IPM extension work, demonstrations, research and implementation.

Rather than searching for a universally applicable silver-bullet solution, the authors argue in favour of a broad approach that takes local specificities into account and allows all farmers to engage in IPM at any point within the continuum. Their vision stems from the realistic acceptance that pesticide-based crop protection is simple and efficient in generating spectacular short-term results. More sustainable alternative strategies will inevitably be more complex and knowledge-intensive in their initial development stage.

The process envisioned therefore requires learning, adaptation, and tweaking of a number of farm management practices. It requires extending the challenge of crop protection to larger spatial and temporal scales, and generating more complex cropping systems better adapted to the local context. It also requires attention to non-technical aspects such as the social environment in which farmers operate, collective learning and farmers’ inclination for step-wise rather than drastic changes.

But the approach is viable, and the authors offer real-life examples of successful experiences with the types of tactics and strategies suggested.

The authors note that 70 years of reliance on chemical protection has led to the development of cropping systems that have become inherently vulnerable to pests. By emphasising Principle 1 on prevention, the authors offer concrete illustrations on how to modify cropping systems to make them more robust in the absence of pesticides. The authors also identify the limits and opportunities associated with Principles 2 to 7 – a logical sequence starting with observation and ending with using chemicals as a last resort. Last but not least, a new slant is given on the question of evaluation (Principle 8) regarding the need for the development of new performance criteria and their routine use among the farming community.

For more information:

Barzman M, Bàrberi P, Birch ANE, Boonekamp P, Dachbrodt-Saaydeh S, Graf B, Hommel B, Jensen JE, Kiss J, Kudsk P, Lamichhane JR, Messéan A, Moonen AC, Ratnadass A, Ricci P, Sarah JL, Sattin M. 2015. Eight principles of integrated pest management. Agronomy for Sustainable Development , online first. doi 10.1007/s13593-015-0327-9. It is available here

ANNEX III of Framework Directive 2009/128/EC

General principles of Integrated Pest Management. For ease of reference, the authors have added shorthand titles to each principle

Principle 1 – Prevention and suppression The prevention and/or suppression of harmful organisms should be achieved or supported among other options especially by:

  • Crop rotation
  • Use of adequate cultivation techniques (e.g. stale seedbed technique, sowing dates and densities, under-sowing, conservation tillage, pruning and direct sowing)
  • Use, where appropriate, of resistant/tolerant cultivars and standard/certified seed and planting material
  • Use of balanced fertilisation, liming and irrigation/drainage practices
  • Preventing the spreading of harmful organisms by hygiene measures (e.g. by regular cleansing of machinery and equipment)
  • Protection and enhancement of important beneficial organisms, e.g. by adequate plant protection measures or the utilisation of ecological infrastructures inside and outside production sites
Principle 2 – Monitoring Harmful organisms must be monitored by adequate methods and tools, where available. Such adequate tools should include observations in the field as well as scientifically sound warning, forecasting and early diagnosis systems, where feasible, as well as the use of advice from professionally qualified advisers.
Principle 3 – Decision-making Based on the results of the monitoring the professional user has to decide whether and when to apply plant protection measures. Robust and scientifically sound threshold values are essential components for decision-making. For harmful organisms, threshold levels defined for the region, specific areas, crops and particular climatic conditions must be taken into account before treatments, where feasible.
Principle 4 – Non-chemical methods Sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods must be preferred to chemical methods if they provide satisfactory pest control.
Principle 5 – Pesticide selection The pesticides applied shall be as specific as possible for the target and shall have the least side effects on human health, non-target organisms and the environment.
Principle 6 – Reduced pesticide use The professional user should keep the use of pesticides and other forms of intervention to levels that are necessary, e.g. by reduced doses, reduced application frequency or partial applications, considering that the level of risk in vegetation is acceptable and they do not increase the risk for development of resistance in populations of harmful organisms.
Principle 7 – Anti-resistance strategies Where the risk of resistance against a plant protection measure is known and where the level of harmful organisms requires repeated application of pesticides to the crops, available anti-resistance strategies should be applied to maintain the effectiveness of the products. This may include the use of multiple pesticides with different modes of action.
Principle 8 – Evaluation Based on the records on the use of pesticides and on the monitoring of harmful organisms the professional user should check the success of the applied plant protection measures.

 

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Copied from: PestNet

The “big rust’s” impact on coffee disease management Coffee rust has made significant headlines in recent years for its devastating effect on coffee crops. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), losses in Latin America and the Caribbean alone have totaled well over $1 billion, causing hardship to coffee plantations, their labourers, coffee retailers, and the consumers who pay more for their morning coffee.

But this fungal disease, also known as “the big rust,” has a much longer and more encompassing history that goes all the way back to its discovery in 1869. This history is reviewed in detail through a new Phytopathology article entitled, “The Big Rust and the Red Queen: Long-Term Perspectives on Coffee Rust Research,” written by Stuart McCook, historian at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and John Vandermeer, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, USA.

In this essay, the authors discuss the big rust in a broader historical context, chronicling coffee rust epidemics, the social and ecological conditions that produced them, and the evolving scientific responses to this threat. The article highlights the many innovations used to combat coffee disease outbreaks, such as the efforts to develop disease-resistant plants, chemical and agroecological control, and even a network of international coffee research institutes. It also incorporates the broader social and economic histories of coffee production into particular stories of rust epidemics and rust research. The article also points out examples of the current research and disease mitigation challenges in developing nations versus affluent parts of the world.

By taking this broad perspective, the authors suggest we are entering a new phase in the global history of the coffee rust.

“Up until the mid-1980s, the story of the coffee rust was largely the story of invasions, as the disease spread into regions where it was not previously present,” McCook said. “By the mid-1980s, however, the disease had reached almost every coffee-producing region in the world.”

“For a brief while, in the 1980s and 1990s, it looked as if coffee farmers-with the help of scientists-had adapted to the disease, making it ‘just another disease’ on the farm. But we suggest that this fragile equilibrium has begun to break down, both because of broader ecological changes that we are only beginning to understand, and also because of increasing volatility in the global coffee economy,” he said.

Read this paper in the September 2015 issue of Phytopathology.

(Phytopathology News, November 2015)

http://www.isppweb.org/nldec15.asp#2

 

 

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drones 253

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FreshPlaza

Publication date: 3/23/2015

eight_col_064_IS09AL1QZFarmer with basket of organic potatoes.

New research shows a plastic mesh cover laid over potato crops could be the answer to fighting potato pests without using chemical sprays.

Scientists at the Future Farming Centre and Lincoln University say field trials of the mesh cover is showing exciting results in controlling the tomato potato psyllid as well as reducing potato blight.

The psyllid arrived in New Zealand in 2006 and can cause severe crop loss through its bacterium.

Researchers Dr Charles Merfield said the trials over two growing seasons in Canterbury showed potatoes under the mesh covers had reduced numbers of psyllids, increased tuber size and an increase in overall yield.

He says the covers were widely used in other countries and he expected them to become popular in New Zealand.

“These mesh crop covers have been in use in Europe for probably nearly two decades now, so they’re very widely used over there for pest control, particularly amongst organic growers, so these strike me as being an ideal way of controlling psyllids on potatoes on field crops.

“We did some initial trials at the Future Farming Centre and we’ve got some very good results in terms of controlling psyllid – and we also got the surprise effect of a dramatic reduction in potato blight as well.”

Dr Merfield said the mesh could also control a wide range of pests on many different field crops and was being used by organic growers in Hawke’s Bay to control root fly on carrots.

Source: radionz.co.nz

http://www.freshplaza.com/article/137097/NZ-Mesh-cover-to-fight-potato-pests?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=ed5&utm_source=s1

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