Science Into Practice - Strawberry pest prediction

Each season, strawberry growers expect to contend with certain flower and leaf pests, but they can never be quite sure when the pests will strike.

Visual crop monitoring is generally relied on to detect the arrival of these pests, but this is not always fail-safe.

In HDC Project SF 114, Xiangming Xu and Jean Fitzgerald of East Malling Research (EMR) worked to develop temperature-based emergence prediction models for European tarnished plant bug, strawberry blossom weevil and tarsonemid mite. The use of such models will improve the accuracy of pest forecasting and subsequent timings of spray applications.

The models for each pest have been incorporated into a computer programme at EMR that already contains models for strawberry grey mould, powdery mildew and western flower thrips.

The model for the European tarnished plant bug was validated in commercial conditions in 2010 and 2011, and the model can now be used by growers to identify the timing of first-generation tarnished plant bug adult dispersal in strawberry or other crops. The model and user instructions are available from Xiangming Xu at EMR.

The HDC has commissioned further work at EMR to validate the model for strawberry blossom weevil so that it too can be used by commercial growers.

The full report is available via the HDC website at predict-pest-development-strawberry-optimisati-5.

Horticultural Development Company

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