Cereal growers are being offered an opportunity to learn about their fields’ aphid populations by getting involved in an ADAS-led research project.
The project aims to develop better monitoring approaches, including how best to use information from a national network of insect suction traps.
Participants can discover the make-up of cereal aphid populations in their fields, including whether they carry Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), and how this relates to suction trap results.
Charlotte Rowley, who manages pest research at AHDB, said: “Suction traps are a fantastic strategic resource. Operated by Rothamsted Research, they have provided a picture of the British aphid population for over 50 years.
“Aphid numbers are published in AHDB Aphid News. However, there has always been some uncertainty about how these figures relate to aphid populations in nearby fields. The research will tackle this uncertainty.”
The project will focus on three suction traps each year, selected to provide a wide geographic spread. For the 2020-21 season, the focus traps are York (YO41 1LN) and Hereford (HR1 3PF).
Ideally, the researchers need 12 sites at each location, dispersed evenly across three zones:
- Red (four sites) about 10 km away from the suction trap
- Yellow (four sites) about 20 km away from the suction trap
- Blue (four sites) about 40 km away from the suction trap
Monitoring will also include a dozen sites around the Starcross suction-trap site in Devon (EX6 8PF). Used in the 2019/20 season, these sites have already been secured.
Although no change to field management is necessary, researchers will need access to fields, to place and monitor water and sticky traps.
The research team also needs several winter cereal sites to host a tramline trial to test and validate a BYDV decision support system (DSS). Sites are required near: Rosemaund (HR1 3PG), Boxworth (CB23 4NN), Terrington (PE34 4HZ), High Mowthorpe (YO17 8BP) and Starcross (EX6 8PF).
Site hosts would need to have GPS yield mapping capabilities and follow an agreed insecticide application plan.
Those interested in participating should contact ADAS: [email protected] or 07503 431355.