12 September 2017 Read: 70
The Constantia Citrus Study Group meets monthly at Letaba Junction just outside Letsitele to talk about developments and challenges in the citrus farming industry. On the 10th of August the meeting was presented by River Bioscience and proudly sponsored by Isuzu.
River Bioscience focuses on biological pest control and they presented the product range they have available to control false codling moth (FCM), to the members of the study group. This pest is a major problem causing a substantial financial loss for farmers annually as it attacks fruit at all the stages of development. Citrus is not the only fruit targeted, other crops include avocados, beans, coffee, cotton, grapes, macadamias, maize and tomatoes. A large part of the FMC’s lifecycle happens out of sight, making it a huge challenge to control. The adult moths are nocturnal; the eggs are no more than 1mm in diameter, as the eggs hatch the caterpillars bore into the fruit and tunnel deeper within as they mature. Once fully matured they drop to the ground and spin a cocoon in the soil remaining there before metamorphosing into an adult moth.
Many different types of methods can be used to control this pest; chemical, microbial, sanitation, destruction of the host plant, biological and irradiation and some grower’s go as far as flooding their orchards in winter to kill the pupae. Biological pest control involves using natural enemies, such as wasps in this instance, to control and manage the population of the pest species. Another method is sterile insect technique (SIT), which involves releasing large numbers so sterile moths into the land to mate with females ensuring that no offspring result. River Bioscience presented one such product called Xsit.
The other products focused on at this meeting were SPLAT FCM, Cryptogran and Crpytonem. SPLAT FCM is a new mating disruption product based on a gel matrix which is formulated to protect against rain and UV and release pheromone over an extended time, preventing males from finding females and thereby preventing pairing. Cryptogran, which is a baculovirus derived from the false codling moth, kills the larvae when ingested. In the process, new virus is generated and the biological control mechanism is extended into the next generation. Cryptonem is entomopathogenic nematodes (beneficial insect killing nematodes) which seek out pupating FCM larvae in the soil, penetrate them and kill them with their symbiotic bacteria where after they multiply within the dead insect.
River Bioscience also gave feedback on improvements to the formulation of Cryptogran and two fungi they plan to register for control of soil pupating FCM larvae that the citrus industry has funded the development of. RB1 is new fungicide CRI developed for the control of Citrus Black spot. Keith Danckwerts, Business Development Manger of River Bioscience says, “We presented results of the registration trials for this product. We await registration of RB1which will give growers an alternative to some of the current products in the spray programme which leave undesirable residues. The residues created by RB1 are within the current accepted norms for citrus shipped to the EU.”
With exciting, revolutionary and innovative developments always available to the agricultural industry it can only be beneficial and educational to join the Constantia Citrus Study group. For more further information or to become a member please contact Henk van Rooyen on 083 633 1511.