ARGE Drahtwurm

Alternative methods of wireworm control in potatoes

Topic area
Environment, biodiversity, nature conservation
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain

Disaggregation level
Environmental protection
Knowledge transfer
EIP European Innovation Partnership

Project region
Lower Austria
Upper Austria

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period

Subsidy from LE 14-20
€ 493.257,29

EN - 16.02.1. Unterstützung bei der Entwicklung neuer Erzeugnisse, Verfahren & Technologien der Land-, Ernährungs- & Forstwirtschaft

Project initiator
ARGE Drahtwurm

Short description

Damage by wireworms is currently one of the biggest challenges in the potatoe production in Austria. The aim of this project is it to find alternative means of control.

Point of departure

Potatoes injured by wireworm feeding are no longer suited as table potatoes; they cannot be sold as seed potatoes and their suitability for storage is strongly reduced. In the case of table potatoes the loss caused by wireworms in Austria amounts to 10% on average, which means that the farms concerned also suffer considerable financial loss. So far, above all chemical synthetic plant protection products have been used to combat wireworms. However, it is questionable whether it will be possible to use these, or similar, products in Austria in the future. As a consequence we need to find alternative means of control.

Targets and target groups

Main objective: Reduction of the economic loss suffered in potato growing by the testing of alternative, eco-friendly control methods under Austrian conditions of production
Target group: Potato growers

Project implementation and measures

Important steps of the project include
  • Field testing with alternative methods of wireworm control
  • Survey of the wireworms, of their composition (incl. species identification) and distribution on the trial plots
  • Virulence tests with Metarhizium brunneum strains and the wireworm species that are dominant on the trial plots
  • Direct communication of the results to farmers, extension workers and other stakeholders in the field of potato growing at seminars and field days

Results and effects

The expected outcome of the “ARGE Drahtwurm” is a substantial contribution to the reduction of the economic damage in potatoes by the development of effective and practical ways of wireworm control under common conditions of production. The direct communication of the achieved results to all stakeholders in the field of potato growing ensures a high potential for the direct implementation by potato growers and thus for the economic protection of individual holdings and the improvement of the sector’s resilience to developments like, for example, bans on chemical synthetic products or the development of resistances.