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Evaluating row covers for early season management of cabbage maggot in brassica vegetable crops

Project Code: PRR14-010

Project Lead

Peggy Dixon - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


Evaluation and demonstration of the efficacy of polyethylene mesh row covers for early season management of cabbage maggot in brassica vegetable crops in the growing regions of Atlantic Canada and British Columbia

Cabbage maggot, Delia radicum L. (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) causes significant economic damage to Brassicaceae crops grown across Canada. Two organophosphates are currently available to control this pest in Canada: diazinon, which will be phased out by end of 2016, and chlorpyrifos, which is currently under regulatory re-evaluation by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). In addition, research confirmed the spread of resistance to chlorpyrifos in cabbage maggot populations. Alternative reduced risk options are therefore required to replace organophosphates and become part of the routine Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs in these crops.

This project aims at evaluating and demonstrating the effectiveness of polyethylene mesh row covers (more commonly known as ‘insect netting’) as a physical barrier during the early season, when Brassica leafy vegetables are vulnerable to cabbage maggot damage. The feasibility of the covers to protect the crops against the first generation of the pest will be determined. Trials will be conducted in the provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, and will also include observations on other pests that could be potentially controlled by this technology (for example flea beetles). Field trials will examine the efficacy of various mesh sizes, identify issues associated with the technology (for example weed control), and propose recommendations in accordance with regional practices. The project will also assess and demonstrate the use of machinery for the deployment and collection of the nets in commercial-size operations.

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