Why Shane doesn’t grow many toma­toes any­more

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Notebook -

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.”

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