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Sustainable hop production in the UK - HH3202SHO

The objective of this project is to promote the sustainability of the UK hop industry through the development of dwarf hop varieties, identifying any genetic factors which may hinder the development of varieties which combine resistance to wilt and high resin content with dwarf habit, anticipating problems which may arise as a consequence of growing such varieties, and providing solutions which would be welcomed and exploited by growers of dwarf hops. In particular, the project aims to develop robust, reliable IPM strategies which will combat new and resurgent pests arising from the increased biodiversity within dwarf hop canopies, yet not compromise control of the major pests, the damson-hop aphid and two-spotted spider mite, nor reduce yield or crop quality. Molecular techniques will be developed to differentiate genotypes resistant to wilt and damson-hop aphid to increase the efficiency of the breeding programme.

The breeding strategies and new selection techniques resulting from this work will be used directly by the NHA in a programme to develop new varieties for the UK industry whilst the pest control strategies will be usable immediately by growers of current dwarf hop varieties.

Since their introduction to commerce in 1996, dwarf hop varieties have been shown to reduce greatly overall pesticide usage and environmental impact, increase market competitiveness, and increase management flexibility. Thus, this project is relevant to DEFRA policies to protect and improve the environment, develop a sustainable rural economy, promote a competitive food supply chain, and promote a modern adaptable farming practice.

1. Identify any genetic associations which might complicate the combination of pest and disease resistance with high resin content in dwarf hop varieties
2. Develop molecular techniques to extend, differentiate, and quantify amongst hop genotypes identified as resistant to hop wilt, and to the damson-hop aphid
3. Develop sustainable pest biocontrol strategies by increasing crop biodiversity in dwarf hops, compatible with control of the current major pests; damson-hop aphid and two-spotted spider mite
4. Anticipate and identify new and resurgent pest problems in dwarf hops associated with significant reduction in broad-spectrum pesticide usage, including the presence of natural enemies
5. Communicate with the hop industry through several media to transfer the technologies and knowledge developed in this project

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2007

Cost: £1,468,219
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Horticulture Research International, East Malling Research
Allocated - EMR              
Peer Review              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study