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PestWebNZ gives farmers new tool to combat pests and weeds

13 June 2011

AgResearch at the New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays 2011

PestWebNZ gives farmers new tool to combat pests and weeds

New Zealand pastoral farmers are about to get their first access to a new tool to assist in weed and pest management. An advance release of "PestWebNZ" will be launched at the AgResearch exhibit at the National Agricultural Field Days at Mystery Creek, 15-18 June 2011.

A team of scientists and farm consultants, led by AgResearch's Dr Katherine Tozer, have been working on 'PestWebNZ', for the past 12 months. The launch of the "advance release" version will give farmers their first look at what the developers hope will be a key industry resource,that will be continually improved and developed into the future.

The advance release version of the website currently covers 31 key New Zealand pasture weeds and insect pests chosen in consultation with key farming, industry and research personnel. The website will be expanded with other important species over the next 12 months.

A number of sponsors have provided financial support for the website, led by the MAF Sustainable Farming Fund, Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ and AbacusBio.

A key feature of PestWebNZ is an alert service which sends emails to subscribers about outbreaks or potential outbreaks of insect pests, along with suggestions for their management. This PestAlert feature is available free to subscribers.

Dr Tozer says that PestWebNZ provides an independent source of information to assist both farmers and consultants in making pest management decisions, leading to better control and reduced productivity losses. It increases the rate of knowledge dissemination and makes solutions more readily available to industry.

The website is intended to be a supplementary, easily accessible source of information for farmers to use alongside other existing sources. It provides information on identification, control, biology and impact of key pasture weeds and pests.

The site can be searched by weed or pest name or by what the species looks like. Using a short series of links, the site gives information on the biology of the pest or weed, an impact assessment and options for management and control.

The site does not reference commercially branded products, but instead gives users the chemical names that they can take to a retailer who can suggest an appropriate insecticide or herbicide.

Dr Tozer says, "It has been an enjoyable experience to collaborate with the many people involved, including experienced entomologists such as Colin Ferguson who have prepared all the pest information and are drivers behind the alert function.

The enthusiasm and input of Simon Glennie, a consultant from AbacusBio, has helped to ensure that the website is meeting farmers' expectations. There has been strong industry and local council support, which is essential for the success of PestWebNZ."

The website address is:

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