In June 2014, Potatoes NZ contracted FAR to manage their potato Research and Development programme. The New Zealand potato industry is worth $500 million per annum and potatoes are New Zealand's number one export vegetable. Potato research is focused on key issues including insect and soil borne disease management and crop management to maximise yield.
Control of soil and seed borne diseases
This project compares the efficacy of a range of current and new seed treatments to control seed and soil borne diseases.
Integrated insect management
The regionally based trials determine management options with cost benefit analysis for psyllid control.
For more information on pest and disease management, see Potato Updates, under Resources on this website.
Increasing potato yield through understanding the impact of crop rotations and soil compaction
This Sustainable Farming Fund project is aimed at developing novel strategies to increase potato yield. The project began in 2015 and will conclude in 2018.
The aim of this research is to develop novel strategies to increase yield by studying the interaction between potato crop rotations including biofumigant crops on the soil borne diseases Rhizoctonia solani and Spongospora subterranea. Additional trials will elucidate the factors that contribute to soil compaction. Implementation of these newly developed strategies will increase potato yields by 12% which is in line with the Potatoes NZ industry target. This increase in yield will ensure the economic viability of the potato industry in New Zealand. Direct beneficiaries are the 170-plus potato growers in New Zealand although the wider community also benefits through environmental benefits of sustainable cropping systems and the social benefits of a secure rural land use.