In-Field Diagnostics

  • Fera is developing a range of in-field diagnostic services to help farmers and growers quickly identify pests and diseases and take appropriate action. In-field testing allows you to make treatment decisions immediately, without the additional expense.
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In-Field Diagnostics

Working in collaboration with CHAP, the one of four Centres for Agricultural Innovation and a key component of the government’s Agri-Tech Strategy, we are developing the SMART Decision Support Unit. This builds on our existing capabilities with tools such as the CropMonitor Service, which has been providing risk forecast on wheat diseases to growers since 2003. 

National pest and disease surveillance

To achieve National pest and disease surveillance we utilise a range of technologies across a range of disciplines. Each of these technologies are outlined below:

Yellow water trap for monitoring of aphids

  • Monitoring of pest and disease development in untreated plots of at least four untreated varieties each of wheat, barley and oilseed rape reported weekly from 30 locations across England

  • Incorporation of the National Crop Pest and Disease Surveys funded by Defra

  • Participatory agronomist networks delivering weekly observations from commercially managed crops including potatoes

  • Potential for extension to other crops using same networks

  • National weather monitoring network

Met station

30 bespoke met stations deployed at all monitoring sites to collect and report data relevant to understanding and prediction of pest and disease risks

Collaboration with the UK Met Office to identify an agriculturally-relevant national UKMO monitoring network to support real-time risk forecasting services for agriculture and horticulture

Incorporation of forecast weather (up to 14 days ahead)

Monitoring of pathogen pressure prior to disease symptom development

Prototype automated spore detection device

Co-deployment of Burkard spore traps at each of the monitoring locations to collect spore samples for laboratory analysis of spore release and dispersal in relation to weather factors

Validation and introduction of automated spore traps which will trap spores, carry out an automated DNA test to measure spore numbers collected and send the data to the platform for generation of improved risk prediction

Introduction of in-field diagnostic services to detect latent infection in crops prior to symptoms appearing

Potential for in-field detection of pesticide resistance to be incorporated in the future

Modelling platform for pest and disease forecasting

Risk models will become available for up to 33 crop/pest/disease combinations of relevance for spray decisions for pest and disease control

All models fully validated and level of confidence presented

All data flowing into the platform handled via bepoke algorithms to deliver risk forecasts direct to users based on current and forecast weather conditions, crop varietal susceptibility, agronomic factors and inoculum availability


CropMonitor

Bespoke services will be developed to forecast risk of epidemics of crop pests and diseases at national, regional and local scales

Bespoke local forecasts applicable for supporting pest and disease management decisions in real-time will be available via a subscription service. These will expand over the life of the set-up phase, but will include predictions of risk of spore release, prediction and/or detection of latent infection in crops, prediction of infection risk and identification of spray windows; all delivered in a time-frame to support decision-makers on whether to spray, optimal spray timing, product choice and dose (dependent on level of risk and variety). Thus, the system will deliver support to maintain and increase yields whilst minimising costs of pesticide inputs. Additional research and collaboration involving the platform will enhance both the existing service provision and also extend the breadth of the services to other crops.

National and regional surveillance information will be available as a free service via CropMonitor.

Contact us

To find out more about our service development or discuss a potential collaboration please contact us below and a member of our team will contact you within 2 working days.

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  • Preferred contact Method:

  • Telephone

We will use the email address provided above to contact you about this service within 2 working days


The testing methods are developing use the Genie III platform for rapid diagnosis of pests and pathogens. The technology will be able to provide results in as little as 15 minutes, and is easy to use, allowing non-specialists to carry out tests in the field

  • Rapidly diagnose pests, pathogens and diseases in the field
  • Easy-to-use systems for use by non-specialists.
  • Risk assessment ssupport your crop-treatment decisions.
  • Faster, cheaper and simpler than laboratory testing.

Mobile laboratories

We are developing a fleet of fully equipped, state-of-the-art mobile laboratories that can be deployed anywhere in the UK. They will use a range of techniques including microscopy, spectroscopy and portable mass spectrometry to identify and diagnose pests, pathogens and diseases. The laboratories will also carry out field surveillance for biotic threats using remote-sensing technology.

In-field diagnostic tests

Fera is developing the following range of services and technologies to enable rapid in-field diagnosis of crop pests and diseases.

For more details, or to register your interest please get in touch:


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Spore trap technology

This innovative device will use a three-pronged approach to automatically detect disease risk. It features spore sampling, in-field pathogen detection and weather monitoring in one automated device, enabling it to provide real-time in-field detection of any risks or disease associated with your crops.

Self-generated reports of the results can be sent via satellite to a central hub for analysis in real time, giving you timely data that can be used for important disease-prevention decisions. The value of the system is in the combination of in-field diagnostics with geo-scaled risk-mapping capabilities, which align pest levels with risk thresholds on yield gains and economic benefit – supporting your crop-spraying decisions.

LAMP technology

LAMP is a DNA-amplification technology, which enables rapid and sensitive detection of bacterial pathogens. It is run on the Genie III platform and can provide a diagnosis within 30 minutes in the field. Diagnostic assays have been developed for all three bacterial pathogens:Pseudomonas syringae pv.actinidiae (Psa),Xanthomonas arboricola pv.pruni (Xap) and Xanthomonas fragariae (Xf).


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