Soil Borne Diseases, Soil Pests & Pathogens Affecting New Zealand’s Agricultural Industry

Soil Borne Diseases, Soil Pests & Pathogens Affecting New Zealand’s Agricultural IndustryThe Agricultural industry is the largest sector of New Zealand’s tradable economy, equating to almost half of the goods exported by New Zealand each and every year. 

In fact, Agricultural exports were worth some $26.5 billion to the New Zealand economy as of 2012.

These facts and figures make one thing very clear:

New Zealand’s agricultural industry is an integral cog in the larger New Zealand economy, which places an increasing amount of pressure on the sustained health of the sector and its ability to support future growth and prosperity.

Soil borne diseases, soil pests and pathogens currently pose one of the largest threats to the health of the sector. Often having a wide-reaching and dramatic impact on the successful planting, growth and harvesting of a number of New Zealand’s most common crops, including:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Apples

These crops face substantial losses as a result of a number of soil pests and pathogens. Severely impacting the health, quality and overall yield of potato, carrot and onion crops of growers nationwide.

Efforts To Combat Common NZ Soil Pests & Pathogens

With the support of government and the expertise of businesses like Leicesters, the study, monitoring and development of ever more effective soil fumigants and fumigation practices to prevent, manage, and treat soils pests and pathogens within New Zealand continues apace.

These ground fumigation and disinfestation treatments are ensuring that the agricultural industry – and its growers – are able to reach their full potential. They support them in their efforts to achieve the maximum possible returns on investment, and facilitate the largest possible yield of healthy, profitable crops.

This is a key ingredient in our efforts to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of New Zealand’s agricultural industry now and into the future.

The Major Soils Pests & Pathogens Affecting New Zealand Growers

Soil pests and pathogens can have a wide-ranging impact on the agricultural industry within New Zealand. Unless the symptoms of these diseases are identified early, and treatment with appropriate soil products and chemicals is carried out, they can have a long lasting impact on the current and future health of crops for growers New Zealand wide.

Some of the most common pest, pathogens and diseases include:

Crown Rot (Phytophthora Cactorum)

Phytophthora Cactorum is a persistent, resilient soil-inhabiting plant pathogen that causes Crown Rot in strawberry crops. Usually targeting those that are grown in either poorly drained or over irrigated soil, the disease can remain a constant problem throughout current and future seasons if not treated effectively and in a timely manner.

Pink Rot (Phytophthora Erythroseptica)

Pink Rot is an aggressive pathogen that often affects potatoes including Kumara and Sweet Potato, though other varieties have been known to affect carrots, raspberries, tomatoes, asparagus and strawberries. It’s most prevalent in moist soil during hot, dry years.

Pink Root (Phoma terrestris) 

Pink Root commonly affects onions as well as a variety of potato crops, where it can damage or even kill the affected crops. It often survives in the soil and diseased roots of affected crops for several years, and can be difficult to treat.

Cankers & Black Scurf (Rhizoctonia Solani)

Rhizoctonia Solani is widely known to cause Black Scurf and Cankers on potato crops, reducing the quality of both fresh and seeded potatoes. It can also have a detrimental impact on the establishment of freshly planted potato crops, resulting in a significant reduction in both potato crop yield and quality.  

Violet Root Rot (Rhizoctonia Crocorum)

Violet Root Rot is responsible for significant economic loss, threatening the long term viability of carrot crop production in the Ohakune region of New Zealand. A major supplier of carrots to New Zealand’s domestic and export markets.

Fusarium Wilt (Watermelon Disease)

Fusarium wilt is one of the most serious watermelon diseases. Initially seen in the wilting of the crop as well as the discolouration of the vascular tissue, Fusarium wilt is difficult to manage and is often transmitted via the soil or affected seeds.

Specific Apple Replant Disease (SARD)

Specific Apple Replant Disease (SARD) – often referred to as Sick Soil Syndrome – affects apple trees that are replanted in soil where similar varieties of apple trees have grown in the past. Occurring as certain varieties of soil pests and pathogens begin to build up in the soil, apple replant disease can seriously impact the growth, quality and quantity of the fruit affected trees produce.


  • Contact Information

    Leicesters Soil Fumigation
    6 Waitane Place
    PO Box 4036
    Marewa, 4143
    Napier, New Zealand

    Phone: +64 6 843 5330
    Fax: + 64 6 843 5158
    Email: info@leicesters.co.nz

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