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  • Rights: Kiwi Innovation Network Limited
    Published 27 November 2014 Referencing Hub media

    Dr Max Suckling, Science Group Leader at Plant & Food Research, and John Read, Managing Director of Etec Crop Solutions, talk about their collaboration on a pheromone-based insecticide. The insecticide – 4Play – has resulted in residue-free apples and a subsequent opening up of the international apple market for New Zealand-based growers.


    Dr Max Suckling
    What we’re doing is we’re using high concentrations of a sex pheromone to disrupt the communication between male moths and female moths, and what we’ve done now is to combine four different blends into a single dispenser for orchardists to put out to control all four species.

    John Read
    Growers were using 10–15 sprays a year of insecticides, some of which were highly toxic, would leave residues on the crop at harvest and limit where we could actually send our apples. Global demand now is for low or no-residue fruit that can go into every market in the world. Three New Zealand leafrollers plus codling moth put together in a sex pheromone product, we came up with the trademark 4Play. Been very well received in the industry and doing a great job.

    Dr Max Suckling
    Well I think the thing that’s very exciting is that, in a way, we’re controlling the insects without any broadcast insecticides at all, we’re stopping them from talking to each other. We’re getting residue-free fruit, and we’re also able to get access to Taiwan and some of the other key factor markets, which pay very high prices for the apples from New Zealand. So we have the best apples in the world, they’re residue free and they can get into the best markets.

    John Read
    Collaborating with Plant & Food and Etec has been very successful and something of a meeting of the minds. They have very good science, we have people on the ground and the commercial and the marketing support. Working together as a cohesive team has been really productive.

    Dr Max Suckling
    Working in an area such as this green chemistry where we’re controlling insects without the side effects that other control tactics seem to have is a very satisfying thing personally because it’s helping to green New Zealand even further, so it’s a chance to put something back.

    Video courtesy of Kiwi Innovation Network Limited
    © Kiwi Innovation Network Limited, 2013

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