8 Dec 2009

Emergency registration issued for potato treatment

6:42 am on 8 December 2009

Potato growers have been given a helping hand in the fight against a destructive pest, with the emergency registration of an agri-chemical which has proven to be an effective treatment of the potato-tomato psyllid.

An agrichemical industry body, AGCARM, estimates the insect, which spreads the destructive bacterium Liberibacter, has already caused $47 million worth of damage to potato production.

The bacterium can cause abnormalities and lower yields in potato crops.

Until now the product, spiromesifen, could be used only on capsicums, tomatoes and cucumbers that have been grown indoors.

But AGCARM says the emergency registration means potato growers can use the chemical as a temporary measure during the growing season.

Chief executive Graeme Peters says it's effective for only 10 days during the season.

The emergency registration expires at the end of April.