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FFAR Fights the Emerging Allium Leafminer

  • Next Generation Crops

WASHINGTON (February 23, 2021) – The emerging allium leafminer (ALM) fly is currently threatening the $7 billion US allium industry, which includes onion, garlic, leek, scallions, shallots and chives crops. ALM larvae feed on allium crops and can devastate entire fields as their feeding allows bacteria to enter crops and causes the crops to rot, leaving the produce unmarketable. To address this threat, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $65,000 Rapid Outcomes for Agriculture Research (ROAR) grant to Cornell University to identify and deploy control tactics to growers whose farms are threatened by ALM.

Now is the moment to invest in managing and preventing the Allium leafminer threat, before they spread too far. This research is critical to protect the livelihoods of garlic and onion farmers in the Northeast. Sally Rockey, Ph.D.
Executive Director Emeritus

ALM originated in Europe and was first detected stateside in Pennsylvania in 2015. The flies moved into New York and New Jersey in 2016. It has since been detected in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland. There is no well-tested method to prevent or mitigate ALM infestation and the fly threatens to move South and West. The Cornell research team is identifying effective insecticides for both organic and conventional allium crops. This project is also developing best practices for predicting and scouting for ALM and arming growers with the latest information on the pest and effective tactics for controlling crop damage.

“Based on funding from the FFAR ROAR program, we were able to rapidly conduct field research that led to identifying effective insecticides that prevent economic damage on both organic and conventional allium crops,” said lead investigator Dr. Brian Nault. “Growers now have tools to combat this pest; however, more research is needed to optimize insecticide use and to identify non-chemical management strategies.”

Cornell University and the New York Farm Viability Institute together contributed $65,000 to FFAR’s grant for a $130,000 total investment in controlling the emerging pest and protecting farm operations from damage.


Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.

Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking