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Breakthrough in control of lettuce aphids

1 February 2006

Bayer CropScience breakthrough in control of lettuce aphids

Bayer CropScience New Zealand has achieved a breakthrough in the control of lettuce aphids with the granting of a new label claim for its systemic insecticide Confidor®.

Already a well known product for the control of thrips in onions and aphids in cabbages, Confidor can now be used for controlling lettuce aphids.

Bayer CropScience New Zealand marketing manager Peter Fisher says the granting of the new label claim for Confidor is a breakthrough for the lettuce industry.

“Since its detection in Christchurch in 2002, the lettuce aphid has spread throughout New Zealand and has become the biggest plant health issue facing lettuce growers.

“Contamination by the lettuce aphid basically makes the plant unsaleable. Heavy infestations of young lettuce plants can lead to stunting, yellowing and leaf distortion. The aphid is also a vector of several viruses.”

Fisher says control of lettuce aphid with current insecticides has proven difficult as aphids prefer the central leaves of the lettuce, making spray coverage difficult.

“What’s so great about Confidor is that it’s applied as a soil drench to lettuce seedlings the day before they are planted out. Once planted the active ingredient moves into the soil and protects the plant as it grows. The result is excellent season-long control against aphids.”

Fisher says trial work for Confidor use on lettuce originally started in New Zealand in 2003, shortly after the lettuce aphid became established. The trials were run as part of the Sustainable Farming Fund’s development of IPM

(Integrated Pest Management) in lettuce.

ENDS

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