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Oilseed diseases and winter pest databases - AR0509

Within DEFRA, accurate information on the current incidence of diseases and winter pests of oilseed rape and their effects on sustainable arable and rapeseed production and value, and on longer term changes in their status in response to farming practice, is essential. Losses from disease in oilseed rape in England and Wales, even after the application of fungicides, are estimated to range between £32M and £85M per year. Overall disease levels vary from year to year with outbreaks of particular diseases closely linked to crop characteristics and weather conditions. Nevertheless, each year up to £12M has been spent on fungicides to prevent or control major leaf, stem and pod diseases. The policy implications of regulating pesticides, for example, could be modelled using historic pest, disease and pesticide data. Inappropriate pesticide usage can be identified and effort directed effectively to targeted inputs to minimise environmental impact of pesticides, particularly insecticides and molluscicides.

This project will provide data which will be used to identify changes in disease risk, monitor the performance of new cultivars, monitor the effects of husbandry factors on disease, assist with disease forecasting and monitor control strategies used by farmers. The 2002/03 survey will maintain provision of in-year information on the incidence and severity of the major oilseed rape pests and diseases, and analysis of agronomic practice and pesticide use. The project will focus more specifically on the provisional analysis of historical data in order to identify opportunities for improved management of oilseed rape pests and diseases through detailed examination of on-farm agronomic practice and pesticide use over the last fifteen years. The project aims to examine specifically (i) whether cultivar resistance is being exploited effectively in disease control (ii) to what degree current fungicide rates and timings are optimal in terms of disease control, economic benefit and moves to sustainable crop production. Key years will be identified in which specific challenges were faced by farmers, such as major disease epidemics or poor weather affecting sowing or spray applications. Results from these analyses will identify how well the industry responded to these challenges, highlight successful strategies and assist in formulation of improved technology transfer initiatives. The collection of disease incidence/severity data from untreated crops will provide vital information to assess the critical timings and economic value of chemical control measures. The disease data are essential to formulate disease forecasts for light leaf spot and phoma canker in the SAPPIO LINK-funded project PASSWORD. This is a major route for exploitation and communication of pest and disease information to the industry. Results from the survey will be communicated at regular intervals during the crop year through farmer meetings, industry presentations and press articles. The final report will highlight national and regional significance of the main diseases, policy implications and annual and longer term trends and will be made available to other researchers, HGCA and industry as well as DEFRA. The report will also be available in a summary form on the World Wide Web. Scientific publications will be produced for a refereed journal and a major conference. Results will be publicised during the course of the project using a range of media options including press articles, ADAS Crop Action reports and presentations at agricultural shows and conferences.
(i) To monitor the incidence and severity of oilseed rape diseases at three key growth stages

(ii) To monitor the incidence of oilseed rape pests and virus diseases in the autumn and spring

(iii) To relate and cross-correlate the disease incidence data with agronomic and pesticide use information to identify potential for optimisation in oilseed rape crop management through use of resistant cultivars and manipulation of fungicide rates and timing. Formulation of technology transfer messages based on the results of analyses

(iv) To collate, interpret and disseminate results to other researchers, HGCA, industry and DEFRA

Project Documents
• Final Report : Oilseeds Diseases and Winter Pests databases   (249k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2001

To: 2003

Cost: £162,909
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Arable Farming              
Crop Diseases              
Crop Pests              
Oilseed Rape              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops