Improving the management of sweetpotato soil insect pests
The Australian sweetpotato growers group (ASPG), a group that represents 80% of Australia’s production, identified soil insect pest management as the industry’s number one research priority. At the onset of this project, the only reliable means of controlling soil insect pests was through the application of multiple broad spectrum insecticides incorporated in the soil prior to planting and foliar applied during crop development. The R&D program has demonstrated the activity of five isecticides on wireworm, one nematicide on root-knot nematode, and one insecticide on sweetpotato weevil. The key components of the project included assessing the efficacy of insecticides for the control of wireworm, root-knot nematode and sweetpotato weevil in the sweetpotato cropping system; identifying new “soft options” which have the potential to contribute to sweetpotato IPM systems; conducting an insect pest and control practices survey of the sweetpotato industry; and developing and testing improved IPM strategies which included pheromone technology.