23 Aug 2013

Mesh cover highly effective at keeping pest off potatoes

6:35 am on 23 August 2013

A team of researchers at Lincoln University say they are impressed with the results from a trial of a mesh cover that's used to protect crops from insect pests.

The effectiveness of a mesh crop cover at protecting potatoes from the Tomato-Potato Psyllid was tested in a recent trial.

Future Farming Centre head Charles Merfield said the mesh was incredibly effective. It kept 99% of the psyllid out from under the mesh despite a plot of potatoes infested with psyllid being just a couple of metres away.

Dr Merfield said if they had dug the mesh cover in, there would have been no psyllid at all and it would have offered 100% control.

"It's like a fly screen at home, if you keep the fly screens closed you don't get any flies in the house, end of story, it's that kind of simplicity."

While the mesh is widely used in Europe, Dr Merfield said it's not in general use here yet, so the exact cost isn't known.