Science Into Practice - Better defences for lettuce crops

Spray programmes incorporating already approved and experimental bio-fungicides and chemical products with activity against the main lettuce diseases are being evaluated in HDC project FV/PE 410 "Lettuce: Further development of 'Best Practice' for disease control in protected and outdoor crops".

The ultimate goal of this project will be an improved understanding of which fungicides and biocontrol products are most effective, either applied alone or as part of a spray programme, to help growers to control the most important pathogens in the crop.

The focus is on downy mildew (Bremia lactucae), grey mould (Botrytis cinerea), bottom rot (Rhizoctonia solani) and white mould (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), although information on other more minor pathogens is gathered where they appear in trials. The work is being undertaken by Stockbridge Technology Centre and ADAS scientists.

Following initial in vivo screening, replicated field and glasshouse trials were carried out during the autumn of 2012 and spring of 2013. A range of spray programmes was designed to investigate broader product efficacy, crop safety, the potential for minimising unacceptable residues at harvest time and fungicide resistance.

Detailed results from the work to date are given in the HDC project report. Following a review of this work, the knowledge gained from the trials will be used to help devise more specific programmes to accurately target the broad range of lettuce pathogens during 2014. For full details, see

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit

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