Overcoming market and technical obstacles to alternative pest management in arable systems

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Award: RES-224-25-0093
Policy and Practice Note
Project website
PI: Alistair Bailey, School of Economics, University of Kent
Dates: 01/02/2005 - 30/05/2009
 
Chemical pesticides have often been blamed for a range of environmental and human health issues. This research looks at alternatives to the use of insecticides in arable agriculture and the difficulties facing producers in switching over to them. Two approaches are explored: habitat manipulations, to encourage predators and parasites, and using naturally occurring odours to manipulate predator distribution as model technologies. Aim is to improve the way research and development of new products and techniques are carried out to help break the dependence on chemical pesticides.

Data created

Semiochemical lab, semi-field and field experiments
Semiochemical based pest control approaches are designed to reduce insect colonisation of crops by modifying insect behaviour and development. The natural plant activator cis-jasmone was used as a model to develop effective formulations for field use, determine the response of natural enemies to treated plants, identify suitable crop varieties, investigate effects on pest populations in the field and study release rate properties of different formulations. Release properties of novel microencapsulated and gum acacia cis-jasmone formulations that would be suitable for mass production were investigated. Oilseed rape plants were sprayed with test formulations and release of cis-jasmone quantified at intervals thereafter. The gum acacia formulation had the best release rate and was selected for field trials. Foraging trial: Aphidius parastioids were released onto wheat seedlings and foraging behaviour was observed on cis-jasmone treated and control plants. Semi-field arena trial: cis-Jasmone and untreated plants, both infested with aphids, were exposed to parasitoids in an arena for 24h; plants were kept for 2 weeks after which aphid numbers and percentage parasitism were recorded. Field trials: r;eplicated small plots of four winter wheat varieties were either left untreated or treated with cis-jasmone released from point sources in the centre of each plot assessments of cereal aphid populations were made. The best adjuvant for a sprayable formulation of cis-jasmone was tested and gum-acacia was selected for use in further trials. The effect of cis-jasmone on populations of aphids in the field was assessed in large wheat and pea plots.

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Data type: Quantitative
Data format: MS Excel
Sample size:
Country: England
Status: Data released
Arable farmer survey of pest management
UK arable farmer postal survey of pesticide use, attitudes and alternative pest management techniques, investigating the various techniques and practices which farmers are (were) using and might consider employing on their farms to combat cereal and other crop pests. Survey was sent out to 7500 British cereal growers.

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Data type: Quantitative
Data format: MS Excel
Sample size: 571 farmers or those responsible for farms pest-control policy
Country: United Kingdom
Status: Data released
Conservation biological control experiments
Counts of crop pests (cereal aphids) and the invertebrates that predate them (natural enemies) in a series of field experiements. Collection of pest natural enemies on sticky traps, in pitfall traps and suction samples.

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Data type: Quantitative
Data format: MS Excel
Sample size:
Country: United Kingdom
Status: Data released

Publications and outputs

Article (7)
The representation and functional composition of carabid and staphylinid beetles in different field boundary types at a farm-scale
Georgianne J.K. Griffiths; Eirene Williams; Linton Winder; C.F. George Thomas; John M. Holland
06/03/2009

The effectiveness of field margin enhancement for cereal aphid control by different natural enemy guilds
John M Holland; Sue Southway; Heather Oaten; Steve Moreby
06/03/2009

Density-dependent effects of predator species-richness in diversity-function studies
G.J.K. Griffiths; M.J. Crawley; M.B. Thomas; A. Wilby
06/03/2009

Does the spatial density of field margins affect aerially dispersing aphid predators, if so, at what scale?
Heather Oaten; John M Holland; Barbara Smith; Simon Leather
06/03/2009

Monoclonal antibodies reveal changes in predator efficiency with prey spatial pattern
G.J.K. Griffiths; L.I. Winder; W.O.C. Symondson; P.J. Kennedy; C.J. Alexander; J.M. Holland; J.N. Perry
06/03/2009

Efficacy and economics of shelter habitats for conservation biological control
Georgianne J.K. Griffiths; Matthew.B. Thomas; John.M. Holland; Alastair Bailey
06/03/2009

The impact of agri-environmental schemes on cereal aphid control
John M Holland; Steve Moreby; Sue Southway; Heather Oaten
06/03/2009