Economic benefits of biological control of <i>Sitona obsoletus</i> (clover root weevil) in Southland pasture


  • B. Basse
  • C.B. Phillips
  • S. Hardwick
  • J.M. Kean



Sitona obsoletus is a serious pasture pest in New Zealand where its rootfeeding larvae reduce white clover cover and nitrogen fixation To maintain production farmers may compensate by increasing inputs The parasitic wasp Microctonus aethiopoides Loan was introduced for biological control of S obsoletus and achieved parasitism rates exceeding 70 In Southland where S obsoletus was first detected in 2010 unusually severe and prolonged infestations during 2013 and 2014 prompted intensive biological control releases in 2014 and 2015 This study evaluated if they were cost effective in 2015 On dairy farms biological control returned 1478/ha/year or 23 million over the 158017 ha On sheep and beef farms the estimated return was 686/ha/year or 47 million over 719854 ha Monte Carlo simulations were used to estimate returns (/ha/year) using plausible ranges of model parameter values and returns were positive in at least 975 of simulations Biological control of S obsoletus has returned a net benefit in Southland.




How to Cite

Basse, B., Phillips, C., Hardwick, S. and Kean, J. 2015. Economic benefits of biological control of &lt;i&gt;Sitona obsoletus&lt;/i&gt; (clover root weevil) in Southland pasture. New Zealand Plant Protection. 68, (Jan. 2015), 218–226. DOI:




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