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Completed project

Integration of crop and soil insect management in sweetpotato (VG09052)

Key research provider: Australian Sweetpotato Growers
Publication date: Monday, June 2, 2014

What was it all about?

The sweetpotato industry faces a number of biosecurity challenges due to the climate of major production regions, year-round production and tendency for volunteer growth after harvest. Pests are able to have rapid and continuous pest cycles, putting pressure on pesticide options for control.

This project, which ran from 2010 to 2013, set out to develop production systems for sweetpotato growers that will extend the working life of current crop protectants. In particular, growers need better strategies to control root knot nematode, sweetpotato weevil and wireworm.  

The extensive work program included…

  • A series of pest management workshops improving knowledge of best practice production, as well as pests and predators
  • Three large scale on-farm demonstration trials with collaborating growers
  • Tests of farming system innovations that minimise pest populations between cropping periods
  • Testing and identifying new chemical options and application methods that will work better in integrated pest management
  • Field and pot trials to investigate aspects of integrated pest management across the crop production cycle.

The project ran in parallel with an industry-wide pest management extension development program arming growers with the knowledge necessary to implement whole-of-crop integrated management strategies and an extensive pest management research investigation into new pest management technology.

Major achievements included…

  • New crop protection technologies that target different stages of pest lifecycles were identified and new application methods that are less disruptive to potential beneficial organisms were demonstrated
  • Application technologies were improved to better deliver crop protectants into the sweetpotato root zone, which both lengthened crop protection duration and reduced the use of soil insecticides prior to planting.  


Watch this video (17 minutes) showcasing ways to better manage sweetpotato pests, produced by the project 

Related levy funds


Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation

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