Practical findings from Horticultural Development Council trial, plus summaries of academic research and scientific trials, compiled by Dr Ken Cockshull.

Science Into Practice - Key mushroom issues tackled

Trichoderma aggressivum, brown cap mushroom disease and fungal diseases have been major problems for the mushroom industry.

Science Into Practice - Soils research programme

Soils are a high priority for AHDB Horticulture. The majority of soil research funded to date has centred on soil-borne disease control. However, given the importance of soils to the long-term sustainability of most horticultural crops, a comprehensive soils research programme was recently commissioned.

Science Into Practice - Blackberry leaf midge control

Blackberry leaf midge has become an increasing problem in protected raspberry and blackberry. The midge larvae feed in primocane shoot tips, causing leaf roll, which makes them difficult to target with sprays.

Science Into Practice - Tackling tipburn and leaf spot

Cordyline yellow leaf spot syndrome and tipburn are major problems in cordyline and phormium crops. Production is commonly affected, but until AHDB Horticulture-funded project HNS 171a, growers had been unable to take preventive action because there had been no clearly defined cause.

Science Into Practice - Supplementary feed strategies

In 2013, AHDB Horticulture (formerly HDC) project PC 302d developed a Macrolophus-based IPM strategy to control Tuta absoluta. It was successful when the predator established well, with Macrolophus pygmaeus population growth appearing to improve when Artemia eggs were provided as supplementary food.

Science Into Practice - Fungicides for bulb dips

The narcissus industry is facing increasing levels of basal rot in bulbs, but growers rely on just chlorothalonil and thiabendazole to improve hot-water treatments.

Science Into Practice - Lettuce crop aphid controls

Prior to the use of neonicotinoids, lettuce root aphid was a significant problem, particularly near areas with poplar windbreaks because the pest overwinters in poplar trees.

Science Into Practice - Thinning strategies

Hand thinning has consistently been the most reliable way to thin flowers or fruits in orchards. But to save costs, tree-fruit growers are in desperate need of reliable alternatives.

Science Into Practice - Studying pansy distortion issue

"Growth distortion is an issue not only for pansies and violas but for a range of other important bedding plant crops including petunia and primrose, so it's important we gain an understanding about the causes of this condition," says Mike Smith of WD Smith & Son.

Science Into Practice - Thrips control in strawberries

Western flower thrips (WFT) has been a causing serious financial loss in everbearer strawberry crops for more than 10 years and the HDC has funded three research projects to find practical solutions.

Science Into Practice - Field storage for carrots

UK industry practice is to store carrots for winter and spring marketing in situ in the field, typically covered with a thick layer of straw. The aim is to provide insulation against frost damage during the winter and to prevent warming and regrowth in the spring.

Science Into Practice - Investigating daffodil rust

Daffodil rust is a physiological disorder that results in loss of stem and leaf quality through rust-like lesions, making some cut flowers unmarketable. Industry surveys have indicated the extent of the problem and the most susceptible varieties.

Science Into Practice - Sweet pepper pest control

Southern green shieldbug, Nezara viridula, is widely distributed across tropical and subtropical regions of the world where it is a serious pest of many important food crops.

Science Into Practice - Regulating plant growth

"Identifying chemical growth regulators will provide growers with another option to control the growth of vigorous plant species and so meet required height specifications," says J&A Growers' Jamie Dewhurst.

Science Into Practice - Wood pigeon damage control

The wood pigeon Columba palumbus is a major agricultural pest in the UK, feeding on a range of arable crops including peas, brassicas and leafy salads. HDC project FV 426 reviewed the evidence for damage levels, the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of deterrents and other management techniques and emerging controls.

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Research Matters

Click here to see an archive of 199 Research Matters articles by Dr Ken Cockshull.

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