Cereals 2010: Disease research attracts TSB funding

Research into the effects of fusarium on spring barley germination and the impact of soil-borne pathogens in oilseed rape have been given the go-ahead as part of the potential £13m the Technology Strategy Board is spending on crop protection research.

Both projects are being led by Velcourt, with the firm also involved in another two projects awarded funding.

The spring barley project was investigating why germination in spring malting barley had declined in store in the previous two seasons, Velcourt’s Keith Norman told Farmers Weekly at Cereals 2010.

“Part of it could be breeder-induced because they were trying to reduce premature germination, and tipped the balance, but work we have done with Nottingham University also showed that the crops with poorest germination were heavily infected with Fusarium culmorum.

“So this project is aiming to find out more about the interaction between fusarium and germination.”

The second project is aiming to map how widespread two soil-borne pathogens, olpidium and pyrenocheta, were in oilseed rape crops. Both had been identified as more commonly occurring in short rotations of oilseed rape in a current DEFRA-funded LINK project, Mr Norman said.

“We’re going to look at how common place they are, do variety trials on sites where they are at a high level to discover if there is any varietal tolerance, and how we might control them.”

The two other project Velcourt was contributing to were Syngenta/Manchester University-led research into the potential use of in-field biosensors, which could potentially help better targeting of crop protection inputs, and further research into Bruchid beetle control.