Testing over 8,500 samples a year with over 100 years experience of delivering pest and disease identification services, we can help you diagnose the known and the unknown. For instance clubroot is one of the most damaging diseases of Oilseed Rape in UK due to the persistence of the soil-borne pathogen responsible for the disease, Plasmodiophora brassicae, and that it is exacerbated by close rotations. Losses in affected crops can equate to over 50% of potential yield in severely infected crops, that could be as much as £450/ha lost.
Ever-growing restrictions on pesticides, a lack of new active ingredients coming onto the market and increased resistance by pathogens to active ingredients mean reducing treatment applications, whilst still keeping pathogens at bay is an effective way to save famers time and money but also helps minimise the selection pressure on pathogenic strains of diseases. Fera has therefore been working to develop a suite of direct soil tests that will allow farmers to understand the levels and distribution of soil-borne pathogens in the field and therefore the risk of disease before they plant. This allows selection of the most suitable crop and variety for the conditions helping to minimise use of pesticides. We are developing tests using our latest method for a range of potato, brassica and cereal pathogens including Rhizoctonia solani, Rhizoctonia cerealis and take-all but please come and talk to our scientists about the pathogens that you’re most worried about in your crop.
Aphids and the virus' they transmit can reduce wheat and barley yields by 2.5t/hectare. Real time adjustments to timing and the nature of sprays can not only reduce this risk but also save a grower an estimated £7/per hectare on insecticides. Fera's Yellow Water Trap monitoring service provides a grower with the information needed to assess virus transmission risk; £34/ha spent for a return of an in-season spray cost saving, slowing resistance as a result of routine applications and protecting potentially £300 of marketed grain.
Nematodes and Free Living Nematodes can stunt growth, leave plants more susceptible to other pathogens and ultimately reduce crop yields by up to 80%. The farming sector has fortunately been able to treat for these pests, but these treatments are costly (particularly when routinely applied) and continue to face stricter regulatory pressures. A Nematode Sample Analysis through Fera will identify accurately the species of nematodes in the soil which in some cases can be misidentified. These misidentifications can cost up to £ 125/h of unnecessary soil treatments. In the absence of a nematacide a PCN test and analysis of approximately £55 per hectare could improve a growers yield by 118% just be choosing the correct planting locations in the rotation; that's the difference between making a loss of -£4,500/ha and breaking even.
A key part of the process by which plant protection products are approved/authorised is an assessment of risks to consumers, and there are robust controls which govern the level of residues permitted in food. Statutory Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) are set on an EU-wide basis under EC Regulation 396/2005. They apply to all foods that are placed on the EU market, irrespective of whether they have been produced inside or outside the Union. MRLs apply to most foods, with the current exception of fish, fish products, and foods grown exclusively as animal feeds. Rigorous risk assessments support the MRLs set, and make sure that all classes of consumers, including vulnerable ones such as babies and children, are sufficiently protected. This includes a full assessment of data on the level of residues resulting from their use, and on the toxicology of the pesticide. All businesses involved in food production, importation, distribution and sale must comply with the statutory EU MRLs set.
LIAISON provides instant online access to a wealth of information on all UK pesticide approvals, label information and Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) – helping everyone in the food supply chain to make well-informed decisions about pesticide management, responsible sourcing, crop-treatment practices and other factors affecting the safety and quality of food.
Toby presents an overview of Fera's Integrated crop management: Pathogen Diagnostics, Insect Monitoring, Nematode Testing, and Soil Testing.
For more information about our new integrated crop management service, please get in touch below.
If you are interested in this service, please complete the short form below and a member of our team will contact you within 2 working days.
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