Tim Vandervoet

Scientist, Hawke's Bay

Joining the Hawke’s bay team is certainly a change of scenery from my previous base, in Maricopa, Arizona, where I was working on maximising biological control of whitefly on the American south-west’s vast cotton plantations. However, I’m delighted to join the team behind the Integrated Pest Management system for apples. I don’t think this system has really gotten the attention it deserves for gaining access to so many markets, which cover the spectrum from an emphasis on strict pest control through to virtually zero residue requirements.

This proven methodology could certainly reduce chemical use in other food systems but it does rely on having a good amount of fundamental research into local biological systems so you can select the most effective biocontrol strategies. But here in New Zealand, and especially in the apple industry we have a key advantage. We have a very receptive audience among growers who are willing to give scientific advice a try. That’s not something you find everywhere.

My immediate focus is on strategies to control and manage apple leafcurling midge and codling moth, partly because this is the time of year where we need resources in the field. Interrupting mating through a range of different tactics, such as pheromone traps, can really pay dividends later in the season, with much lower numbers.

I am also looking to developing ways to address biosecurity threats to the sector and evaluating the ecological consequences of pesticide use. I am excited to join the excellent PFR staff, to get to know how growers and farmers like to work with us, and also get to know more about the Kiwi lifestyle.

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