A new mobile phone app promises to help growers keep on top of key cereal diseases by helping them identify cereal diseases while in the field.

Developed as a mobile form of the popular BASF and HGCA Encyclopaedia of Cereal Diseases, the app gives users immediate access to information about 36 diseases of cereal crops, enabling infield identification and understanding of the pathogens responsible. Disease range from ascochyta leaf scorch to yellow rust.

“Symptoms of common and less frequently found diseases are illustrated and described together with an outline of the disease cycle of the pathogen(s) responsible and an indication of the importance of the disease,” says Peter Hughes of BASF. “While it is intended for use by UK farmers and agronomists, many of the diseases can be found in other areas of the world as well.”

Bill Clark, who was closely involved in the development of the Encyclopaedia of Cereal Diseases and has trialled the app believes it will make disease identification and ultimately, control easier.

“The need to deliver consistent high yields of quality grain makes control of cereal diseases a vital component of any successful crop production system. Recognition of the disease and an understanding of the pathogens responsible is the first step in this process, and being able to do this in the field is a welcome development. “

The firm adds that the app is not intended to be a guide to disease control, such information is readily available from elsewhere. The app is available to download free from Apple’s iTunes.

Cereal disease identification app

• Based on HGCA & BASF Encyclopaedia of Cereal Diseases

• Search by common disease name, pathogen or keyword

• Mobile access to information on 36 key cereal diseases

• Includes symptoms, life cycle, host, importance and photographs