New priorities announced for plant protection research programme

Identifying effective control options for lettuce Fusarium wilt has been confirmed as one of fifteen new priorities for the second year of AHDB’s crop protection research programme, SCEPTREplus.

Trials will investigate the effects of plant protection products and soil disinfestation techniques to control the potentially damaging disease, lettuce Fusarium wilt, which was confirmed in the UK for the first time in October 2017.

Following consultation with industry, other new priority targets include: capsids, bean seed fly, southern green stink bug, plum rust and celery septoria; along with a range of weed control trials on crops including Brassicas, onions, field-grown cut flowers and blackcurrant.

Joe Martin, AHDB Crop Protection Senior Scientist, said: “The SCEPTREplus programme has been designed to allow us to be agile and respond quickly to urgent and pressing challenges facing the industry.

“As confirmed in our recently published technical review, there are currently limited effective control options available for lettuce Fusarium wilt; we are hopeful the trial will deliver solutions to help the industry manage this disease.”

Ed Moorhouse, Agri-food Solutions Ltd and project lead for SCEPTREplus, said: “The first year trials of SCEPTREplus have already delivered impressive results, generating two Extensions of Minor Use approvals for weed control for herbs and sweetcorn in record time, with several more applications in progress.

“We are confident that the on-going support for SCEPTREplus will continue to provide growers with new control options to help them deal with the most challenging pest, weed and disease problems that they face.”

Research contractors have been invited to submit applications to deliver the trials for the new crops and targets which are due to start from April 2018.

Work will also continue on some of last year’s trials, where promising results have been identified and further research is needed in order to expand the understanding of the products, including further efficacy and crop selectivity data.

Growers are encouraged to contact the project team to discuss and inform all trial priorities within SCEPTREplus. Contact joe.martin@ahdb.org.uk.

To find out more about SCEPTREplus, visit https://horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/sceptreplus

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.