Work to develop tomato pest control hailed as 'huge financial success'

A three-year partnership to develop integrated pest management for tomato pest Tuta absoluta has been "a huge financial success", the conference was told.

Image: Morguefile
Image: Morguefile

The partners are tomato growers R&J Holt and Wight Salads Group (WSG) as well as Rob Jacobson Consultancy. R&J Holt manager Roly Holt said: "We had a real problem with Tuta but are now able to suppress the population."

This has been achieved by a combination of monitoring, application and feeding of predatory bug Macrolophus pygmaeus, the bacterium-based control Spinosad, light and sticky traps, with conventional or organic controls in reserve as second lines of defence, he explained.

Vitacress head of tomato agronomy and project leader Paul Howlett said the approach contrasts with the conventional model for applied research. "Researchers have tended to choose topics that suited their interests or facilities, and even when topics were highlighted to researchers projects rarely delivered practical solutions," he said.

He added that in the early 2000s WSG was "the largest contributor to (levy body) the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) but saw little benefit to our business", though HDC funding was secured for the Tuta project.


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