In-Field Diagnostics

  • Fera's range of in-field diagnostic services helps farmers and growers to 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

Begin a partnership you can rely on to support your growth and keep you one step ahead 

Achieving high yields and managing this sustainable is imperative to feed the ever-growing population. Fera's offering of in-field diagnostic services supports farmers and growers to achieve this goal by rapidly identifying pests and diseases allowing informed decisions to be made immediately. 

By working with Fera, our scientific expertise can help drive your sustainability, increase marketable yields and ultimately improve the quality that you offer to your customers.

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

The testing methods that are being developed are using the Genie III platform for rapid diagnosis of pests and pathogens. The technology will be able to provide results in as little as 30 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:

Contact Us

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).

The 'New' 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.

The national and regional surveillance information will still be available as a free service via CropMonitor.

Register to receive email or SMS updates

If you would like to register to receive email or SMS alerts, please complete and submit the form below:

Register for Crop Monitor Alerts

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