By FWi staff

FORECASTING aphid attacks could be the first of several new regular pest and disease warning schemes based on the Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS), according to a Home Grown Cereals Authority-funded study.

Research on farmer needs found that weekly bulletins would help advisors forecast pest and disease attacks.

That would assist growers make decisions concerning cereal, oilseed, pulse and sugar beet crops.

The HGCA study sees the bulletins alerting advisors to local problems, thus enhancing grower awareness.

The data cannot be used to forecast accurately infestation of individual crops, but can help determine levels of risk.

“The question of how best to extend current use and dissemination of the insect survey data for the benefit of the arable industry is being explored actively, and would require industry funding.

Virus and disease forecasting could be included,” said Richard Harrington of IACR Rothamsted.

The RIS, in collaboration with the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency at East Craigs, currently provides raw data on insect numbers from 11 trap sites in England and four in Scotland to a limited number of users.

Advisors polled in the research specifically asked for interpolation of the results between the widely dispersed traps.

  • Full details in HGCA Project Report No 198 Evaluation of opportunities for dissemination of national pest and disease information, priced 3.00 including p&p from HGCA, Caledonia House, 223 Pentonville Road, London N1 9HY.
  • Telephone: 0207 520 3920
  • Email: publications@hgca.com