Scientists have taken a step forward in their efforts to tackle serious crop pests by reducing the sensitivity of biopesticides to sunlight
Insect pests consume around a third of all the crops we grow, sometimes threatening food security. The main way of controlling these pests is by spraying chemical pesticides but these can be damaging to the environment and so safer alternatives are urgently required including more effective biological pesticides.
Scientists have found diamondback moth (DBM) caterpillars surviving in UK Brassica crops this winter and are recommending growers check their own crops for the pest now.
Previously considered a migratory pest, recent research from AHDB indicated that diamondback moths could be surviving UK winters.
AHDB’s Dawn Teverson, and Rosemary Collier from Warwick Crop Centre have been out in the field hunting for the caterpillars and found the pest on the underside of leaves in un-netted swede crops, located in the south west of England.
The science behind the home-pregnancy test is now being trialled to detect the presence of diseases, which can devastate fields of vegetable crops, including the Christmas sprout.
Trials are underway to help protect crops of Brassicas – sprouts, broccoli, cabbage – and onions, which generated more than £356 million for UK agriculture last year. Diseases including ring spot, light leaf spot and downy mildew are being monitored.
Expert ecologists at the UK-based Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) have devised a scientific model which could help predict the spread of the deadly Xylella fastidiosa which is threatening to destroy Europe’s olive trees.
The CEH scientists have created a model which is able to qualitatively and quantitatively predict how the deadly bacterial pathogen may spread as well as offer guidance on how buffer zones should be arranged to protect uninfected olive trees.
UK scientists, in collaboration with groups in Europe and the US, have discovered why the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) is one of the most destructive pests to many of our most important crops. Their research will inform industry and research programmes to support pest control and aid global food security.