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Capitalising on  (OECD) project with USDA laboratory in France

Capitalise on Organisation forEconomic Cooperation and Development  (OECD) project with USDA laboratory in France by visiting Italian colleagues

Give five guest lectures at four institutes in Italy

“Progress with Apple IPM in New Zealand” (co-authored with Dr Jim Walker, tailored briefing prior to Hawke’s Bay visit by 13 Italian fruit growing consultants from Trento, Istuto Agrario, San Michele

“IPM and Biosecurity in New Zealand: A dynamic situation”

Renew and develop cooperation on IPM and biosecurity with key Italian colleagues

Discuss current OECD project on insect host range and risk assessment with colleagues.

Visits were arranged to four northern Italian institutes and universities with similar horticulture crops and pest problems to New Zealand. Lectures covering New Zealand issues in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and biosecurity were provided to stimulate discussion about current and future cooperation, and elicit potential visitors including students, some with their own funding. In some cases, significant pests threatening New Zealand are native to or have arrived recently in Europe (e.g. Drosophila suzukii dramaticallyaffecting berryfruit and Lobesia botrana, a major European grape pest now in the USA, Chile and Argentina) , and in other cases significant pests in New Zealand have yet to arrive in the EU (potato psyllid).

Cooperation in entomology with Istuto Agrario San Michele is long standing (e.g. Suckling & Ioriatti 1995, 1996), and Plant & Food Research (PFR) has capacity for joint PhD projects with this centre, although funding has recently been predominantly for apple genomics. Consultants were very grateful for a briefing about the New Zealand apple industry before their visit, and the input of Jim Walker is gratefully acknowledged.

Possible PhD topics discussed included sound communication in psyllids and female moth trapping systems for Lobesia botrana. New contacts were made on these topics. New Zealand research on honey bees as biosensors for pathogens also attracted interest.

The visit to Univ. Pisa was an opportunity to build on new cooperation on Lobesia botrana, with cooperation successfully established. An MSc student with top grades (Suma Cum Laude) from Pisa is visiting Lincoln for 6 months, and joint research will take place from March 2012, including trapping trials in Italy with blends designed for the eradication in California. Collaborators on this insect at Trento are supplying the insects to the USDA laboratory in Montpellier and collaborators in Pisa and Florence are conducting vineyard trials.

Automated camera traps for biosecurity and pest management are being developed by a New Zealand company (Mi5) jointly with B3 (PFR, SCION and AgResearch), and with funding contributed by Univ. Padova for EU applications. A PhD student working on the traps plans to visit Lincoln for 7 months in 2012-2013. Prototype applications are relevant to exotic fruit flies, porina in pastures, New Zealand flower thrips (summerfruit) and forestry pests, so far.

Trapping of the invasive fall webworm in Bologna, Italy, assisted with the successful eradication of this significant pest in Auckland, and discussions with staff and students highlighted other potential areas for future development, including D. suzukii.

Climate change is being measured by the shift northwards of pests through long-term pheromone trapping grids, such as for pine processionary moth.

Other points of interest:

More intensive planting of tree fruits over recent years show grower shifts in production practice seeking higher yields, but older systems are still quite evident.

Subsidised advice to small growers through collectives is still the norm in Italy.

Mandated requirements for IPM from EU legislation apply widely to reduce pesticides.

Invasive species are increasingly being recognised as an EU issue but open borders mean there is little scope to deal with them.

A major increase in convenience foods has occurred, with pervasive pre-prepared horticultural food in supermarkets. Farmers’ markets remain but face stiff competition from enormous “hyper” markets

 

References
Suckling DM, Ioriatti C 1995. Integrated fruit production in Northern Italy. Orchardist of New Zealand 68:48-49. Suckling DM, Ioriatti C 1996. Behavioral responses of leafroller larvae to apple leaves and fruit. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 81:97-103. .