21 April 1995

An ideal way to answer critics

"PROPERLY packaged ICM" is the ideal vehicle for meeting the concerns of a critical public, according to Dr Robert Cook, director of Morley Research Centre, Norfolk. But growers needed to take more account of factors such as varietal disease resistance if they were to make their case, he suggested.

Ministry figures on fungicides in 1993 showed little variation in the amounts or types applied to the wheats Beaver and Riband, despite differences in their disease susceptibility which could be worth £63/ha (£25.50/acre).

Dr Cook believed it was the "myth" that fungicides increase yield rather than protect potential output that could account for growers actions.

But despite the obvious scope for savings and potential environmental spin-off from cutting chemical inputs, the UK industry had "a lot of things to be proud of" – not least more hedges than in Denmark. "Let us keep things in balance," he said.