Brassica growers in Lincolnshire can access a new service that forecasts the risk of three key diseases, it has been announced.

The Brassica Alert uses weekly monitoring of spore levels in seven sites across the county, in combination with daily weather analysis to provide growers with free risk warnings for Alternaria, White Blister and Ringspot.

Early warning will help growers better justify and target fungicide programmes, said the Allium and Brassica Centre’s Andy Richardson, who will be managing the service.

“We anticipate first disease alerts for Alternaria and Ringspot being triggered around the end of June or early July, but with many growers not starting fungicide programmes until August, disease can build within the crop.

“Starting spray programmes earlier and timing these sprays in conjunction with a disease forecasting system is the key to control of foliar diseases.”

Alerts will be sent by SMS text message when disease risk is medium or high and registered users will also receive a weekly report summarising spore levels and disease risk. See www.brassica-alerts.co.uk to register.

The service may be expanded to other brassica growing areas (e.g. Cornwall) if there is strong uptake from growers.