Potato pest monitoring set to go live in May

Aphmon - the Potato Council-funded aphid monitoring network of 100 yellow water traps - is set to go live next month.

Seed potato growers are being urged to sign up to the service, which has been updated as new thresholds can now be chosen to trigger alerts.

Virus specialist Drummond Todd said: "Monitoring movement is an important element of control. Everyone who signs up receives timely notice of which species are flying before significant crop emergence occurs. This means they can take the appropriate measures to protect their crops."

A good programme will not only control colonising aphids but also avoid selecting for insecticide resistance within aphid populations that may migrate to the area.

"Growers will have agreed spray programmes for the varieties they are growing with their agronomist or adviser," said Todd. "Once spray programmes have been triggered, it is important to stick to them.

"Current spraying programmes are most effective in controlling colonising aphids such as Myzus persicae, but when large numbers of non-colonising aphids arrive, a programme may be overwhelmed."

"It is important to stress the need for early roguing, removing sources of virus before significant spread."

To sign up for the alerts, see www.potato.org.uk/aphids or email Drummond Todd at dtodd@potato.org.uk

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