TechnologyCrop Production R & DMesh Keeps Pests Off Potatoes: NZ research

Mesh Keeps Pests Off Potatoes: NZ research


In New Zealand, a team of Lincoln University researchers is impressed with the results from a trial of a mesh cover that is used to protect potato crops from insect pests.

The effectiveness of the mesh at protecting potatoes from the tomato-potato psyllid (TPP) was tested in a trial at the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) field site at Lincoln.

Future Farming Centre head Dr. Charles Merfield said the mesh was “incredibly effective.

Comparative yield of Moonlight potatoes grown under mesh (left) and without mesh (right) at the Future Farming Centre in 2015-2016.

“It kept 99 per cent of the psyllids out from under the mesh despite an infested plot of potatoes being just a couple of metres away,” says Merfield, who adds if they had dug the mesh cover in, there would have been no psyllids at all and it would have offered 100 per cent control.

“It’s like a fly screen at home: if you keep the fly screens closed you don’t get any flies in the house, end of story. It’s that kind of simplicity.”

TPP arrived in New Zealand in 2006 and has proved to be a pest for solanaceae crops, including potatoes.

Mesh crop covers have the potential to be a single non-chemical solution to both insect pests and blight on potatoes. A correlation had been shown between a reduction in ultra violet light and potato blight, says Merfield.

However, the potato aphid can penetrate the mesh and once inside, its populations explode. Mesh with sufficiently small holes will exclude immature aphids and appears to modify the under-mesh microclimate resulting in increased yields of potato while improving blight control. Fine mesh had the potential to control all potato insect pests and blight and increase yield, says Merfield.

Read more about the mesh crop covers.

Trending This Week

Potato plants growing in a field

Want an Easy 5.5 to One or Better ROI on Your Potatoes?

At every farm show I’ve attended recently, in every ag magazine I’ve skimmed, in conversations across every farm supply counter, I keep hearing one...
Oat, canary seed and flax cover crop

Eight Innovators Moving Cover Crops Forward

Cover cropping and intercropping can be traced back to the start of time. Only in recent history did the practice of monocultures really take...
Fertilizer spreading

Lowering Potato Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Proper Fertilizer Use

Potato greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through proper fertilizer usage, according to these fertilizer industry experts. EXPERTS: Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for...
Potato field

Feds Raise Interest-Free Cut Off on Advance Payments Program

The federal government is raising the interest-free portion of the Advance Payments Program will increase from $100,000 to $250,000 for the 2022 and 2023 program years, a June 23 news release said.
Installing a soil moisture probe

Better Managed Moisture is Step One for Improving Efficiency

If you’ve been in agriculture for a while, you’ll remember industry’s shift towards autosteer. Though GPS-guided positioning and arrow-straight rows are givens now, it...