Pest control trials hailed a success

Field trials aiming to tackle codling moth on organic-grown apples have been hailed a success.

English fruit marketer Norman Collett trialled Exosect's Exosex CM active mating distribution technology over 8ha. It was found to reduce fruit damage by more than 85 per cent compared with standard organic sprays.

The trials were carried out on sites in Kent and East Sussex owned by Janet and Eric Rowlands.

On 4ha, an organic spray regime was used and on the remaining 4ha Exosex CM was used on its own. The organic spray regime resulted in 7.7 per cent fruit damage whereas the Exosex CM plot had only 1.1 per cent fruit damage. With the rainfall this summer, spray regimes have proved difficult to administer. The Exosex CM solution remained unaffected by the weather.

Eric Rowlands said he was impressed by the results, adding: "While picking, we have seen large numbers of moths around the Exosect dispensers and can see easily from the trial results the significant effect it has had in reducing fruit damage. Next year we will be treating the whole orchard."

Norman Collett technical director Nigel Jenner said: "We are always looking for new disease-resistant fruit crops. The new Italian apple crop Modi is resistant to scab, apple mildew and aphids but not pests. So from an organic view, it's a great crop if we can control pests such as codling moth."

He said he believed it was the only viable option for controlling codling moth and would help growers meet demand for organic produce. The system works by luring males into dispensers that contain a synthetic female codling moth pheromone. The powder then sticks to them and their sensors are overwhelmed making them unable to detect females and mate.


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