HGCA introduces crop disease projects

Three initiatives have been funded by cereals authority the HGCA to alert the industry to in-season disease pressures and maximise the value of crop-protectant sprays.

The work pays attention to airborne spores and conditions at the time of infection.

Dr Jenna Watts, HGCA research manager, said: “The key to protecting susceptible crops from disease is to get the timing of fungicide applications spot on. We are using research-based approaches to detect early disease pressure before visible symptoms develop.

“By publishing our findings on the HGCA website, the information will help growers know when crops are at risk of infection, so they can act accordingly.”

The first project is working to detect pathogens in the field before infection takes hold using air sampling technology; the second will look at in-season monitoring of sclerotinia risk; and the third will look at in-season monitoring of fusarium infection risk during flowering.

Dr Watts concluded: “Our new investment adds further strength to HGCA’s in-season disease monitoring activities, generating valuable regional information to guide spray decisions and provide a foundation to accelerate our understanding of disease management.”

From this month, in-season disease monitoring information alongside commentary on other disease risk factors will be published weekly at www.hgca.com/monitoring.

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