Why Shane doesn’t grow many tomatoes anymore
Shane cut his commercial teeth as a tomato grower for nearly 20 years, working for the previous owner for four years before buying the property.
His journey into Asian vegetables was prompted by his increasing frustration battling the devastating psyllid ( Bactericera cockerelli) on his main crop, tomatoes.
Psyllid was first found in New Zealand in 2006. The adults look like miniature cicadas and the nymph are flat, scale-like insects. Damage is caused by the nymphs and adults, which feed on leaves and also transmit a bacterial disease, Liberobacter, which is believed to cause diseases such as psyllid yellows which drastically affect yields.
“You can control it but it requires heaps of spraying,” says Shane. • “I got sick of battling it.”