Mar 15 2017

Monthly Update - March 2017

Insecticide Bioassay workshops coming up

A workshop will be held at the Plant and Food Research Pukekohe Research Centre on the 21st March 2017.  Workshop details have been emailed to TomatoesNZ members.

Plant and Food Research scientists will demonstrate an on-farm technique you can use to test the effectiveness of your insecticides against whitefly or psyllid. It is a fairly simple and quick test that can be carried out by growers with some basic equipment.

The workshop is part of a project led by TomatoesNZ funded by Tomatoes NZ, Vegetables NZ Inc. and AGMARDT. 

We are also considering holding a workshop in Christchurch.   Register your interest with or on phone 04 494 9972.


Psyllid biocontrol project kicks off

A project to release and monitor the new tomato/potato psyllid biocontrol agent Tamarixia trioaze has kicked off. Plant and Food Research imported the parasitoid from biocontrol supplier Koppert Mexico late last year, and are carrying out testing to ensure that it is true-to-type and free of any pathogens. The next step will be rearing sufficient numbers to release in Pukekohe during the first stage of a three-year project joint-funded by industry groups (including TomatoesNZ) and the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Sustainable Farming Fund.  There will be a grower workshop in the near future, where growers will be able to see the parasitoid at work and learn about it’s lifecycle and how to use it.


Unwanted pests – fact sheets available.

A new “Biosecurity” page has been added to the website.

The page includes information “fact sheets” about pests that are not wanted in NZ. The first set of fact sheets published this month cover our top-5 most unwanted exotic pests:  Chilli Thrips, Tomato torrado virus (ToTV), Tomato leafminer, Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) and Vegetable leaf miners.

The Biosecurity page provides some pictures of these pests but the fact sheets go into more details including providing more pictures and describe the pest, its transmission, symptoms, impact and current international distribution.  The fact sheets can be printed out and kept for easy reference by those working in the crop.


Emissions subsidy phase-out is underway

Greenhouse growers may notice that their ETS costs go up this winter.

The one-for-two emissions trading scheme subsidy, which meant that businesses paying Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) costs on their fuel only paid one emissions unit for every two tonnes of carbon they emit, began its phase-out from 1 January this year. That is when the previous 50% unit cost increased to 67%. It will rise to 83% from 1 January 2018. All sectors in the ETS will pay the full market price from 1 January 2019. The phase out was announced in May last year following the first stage of a review of the ETS.  

For now, greenhouse tomato, cucumber and capsicum growers can still apply for a “free allocation” of emissions units under the industrial allocations scheme for “emission intensive and trade exposed” sectors.  Applications for the free units must be made by 30 April each year. Contact if you need more information about applying.

According to Hon Paula Bennett, the Minister for Climate Change Issues, the second stage of the review “will set a clear long-term direction on how the ETS will help meet our ambitious emissions reduction targets”. Recommendations from that stage of the review are expected mid-2017.