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Mite Pest-resistant Cotton Be a Little Closer?

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CSIRO's cotton research is based in the heart of Australia's cotton growing region at Narrabri, New South Wales with linked research programs also based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory and Geelong in Victoria. This close association and direct proximity to the cotton industry means that CSIRO is ideally positioned to focus on the priorities, issues and needs of cotton growers in finding solutions to managing a crop of such huge potential value better. CSIRO's extensive breadth of research spans cotton breeding, production, agronomy and fibre quality programs that collectively provide the industry with unparalleled access to expertise and knowledge. CSIRO's development, under licence, of cotton varieties with inbuilt resistance against pests such as Helicoverpa armigera (cotton bollworm) and almost universal adoption of these varieties by the Australian industry has resulted in a reduction of pesticide use by around 85% in the last fifteen years. This tremendous achievement occurred despite a decade-long drought in the 2000s and a large reduction in the area planted to cotton. Whilst managing major pests such as Helicoverpa has been the most significant focus of cotton industry R&D in the last twenty years, CSIRO has also been devoting resources and expertise towards managing other pests that affect cotton. One pest that can potentially decrease yield and cause quality losses in cotton is the two-spotted spider mite. Two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) affect cotton plants by sucking out the cellular contents and causing a loss of plant vigour, photosynthetic capacity and a subsequent reduced yield and poorer quality fibre. CSIRO scientist Dr Junji Miyazaki evaluated a range of cotton varieties and found that some are much more resistant to mites than others.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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