IPM – approach to Potato crops

The potato tuber moth (PTM), Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller), is a serious pest of potatoes and other solanaceous crops in Australia.

The pest status varies in different regions of Australia and related factors include insecticide resistance and the level of other pests (including other Lepidoptera) associated with potatoes.

Growers in several States of Australia have implemented Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies with the assistance of IPM Technologies Pty Ltd and this has involved monitoring crops for all pests and making recommendations for their control.

This paper reviews the approach that we have taken with regard to IPM for PTM in general and to IPM in potato crops in particular.

This is not a review of potato tuber moth control in Australia but is a report on how we have implemented an IPM approach in potato crops in Australia.


Paul A Horne

Jessica Page

Integrated Pest Management dealing with potato tuber moth and all other pests in Australian potato crops
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Conclusions :

  • One of the main issues that we had to deal with in Australia was the integration of several pest issues (e.g. PTM, aphids and looper caterpillars) and the recognition that an inappropriate spray for one would disrupt control of other pests.
  • This apparently simple issue is a stumbling block for IPM adoption in a range of horticultural and broad-acre crops in which we work.
  • It is apparent that IPM in potato crops is not possible for many locations because of the continued use of broad-spectrum insecticides for some other pests.
  • It simply is not possible for potato growers to expect that they can use an IPM approach and at the same time using a broad-spectrum insecticide spray for any pest.
  • It has to be realized that the control of all pests need to be considered and that the control of some pests can disrupt the biological control of other pests.
  • The result of the research described here has been that Australian growers can now implement an effective IPM strategy that includes PTM as one of the key pests.
  • We believe that the model of IPM in potato crops that we have developed in Australia could be applied in any country. The advantages include reduced use of insecticides and avoidance of secondary pests.

Acknowledgements :

We would like to thank the many potato growers who have collaborated with us for many years.

In addition we would like to acknowledge the support of AusVeg and Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) (formerly HRDC) with several projects on potato pests.

Peter O’Sullivan was particularly important in obtaining initial commercial observations.

We also thank Dr. Jürgen Kroschel for the invitation to the Symposium and for his encouragement and assistance in the preparation of this paper.

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