Dothistroma Control Committee
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Formerly known as the Forest Research Institute, Scion has been a leader in research relating to forest health for over 50 years. The Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute continues to provide science that will protect all forests from damage caused by insect pests, pathogens and weeds. The information presented below arises from these research activities.
From Forest Health News 215, May 2011.
The Dothistroma Control Committee (DCC) is a sub-committee of the Forest Biosecurity Committee administered by the New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association. The DCC comprises members from several major forest growers and the Farm Forestry Association. It coordinates the annual spray programme to control Dothistroma needle blight. The DCC buys copper and oil in bulk and organises aerial spray contractors in the most cost effective manner for the benefit of all forest owners – large or small. In any one year the DCC may order up to 80 tonnes of copper and 150,000 litres of oil.
The DCC needs to receive requests for spraying by mid-August to allow it time to order appropriate amounts of copper and oil and to organise the spray contractors. If an owner has any doubt on whether the trees should be sprayed the DCC can advise on whom to contact. The Secretary is Don Hammond and he can be contacted on 07 3323454 or 0274 885940. The postal address is The Secretary, Dothistroma Control Committee, PO Box 1035, Rotorua.
The DCC, which is non profit making, also funds research that might improve the control programme. Recently, the DCC has funded research demonstrating that:
- aerial application of copper to control Dothistroma needle blight does not result in significant built up of copper in the soil and levels are significantly lower than those known to cause environmental damage
- the amount of spray applied can be reduced from 5 litres/ha down to 3 litres/ha without compromising efficacy or operational performance
- there is potential to reduce the amount of copper applied even further.
Twenty years ago 2.08 kg/ha of copper in 50 litres of water was applied per hectare. Now, 0.86 kg copper in 5 litres of water and oil mixed is applied, per hectare. Copper persists on pine foliage much longer than was first thought, in a trial sprayed in late 2009 copper was recovered 4 1/2 months after application. This finding should allow managers to apply a second spray later and thus increase the period over which copper is controlling the disease.
The DCC also funds some fundamental research. It recently funded research at Massey University to develop a quantitative PCR based molecular method for determining the amount of the fungus present in the host. This will support work on biological control of Dothistroma needle blight being undertaken now.
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(Scion is the trading name of the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited.)