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Cereal growers urged to report aphid control failures


Cereal growers are being asked to safeguard the efficacy of aphicides by reporting control failures and sending off aphid samples for resistance analysis.

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The request forms part of a UK aphid-monitoring programme, part-funded by AHDB, which looks to detect emerging resistance issues so they can be tackled before they become an established threat to UK cereal production.

Rothamsted Research, which conducts the aphid screening work, is particularly looking for live field samples of bird cherry–oat aphid that unexpectedly survived treatment with insecticides this autumn.


Dr Stephen Foster at Rothamsted Research, who leads the aphid resistance monitoring project, said: “Our focus this autumn is bird cherry–oat aphid. Although there is no known insecticide resistance in UK populations of these aphids at present, the potential for resistance exists, so we must monitor the situation closely.”


Bird cherry–oat aphid is one of the main vectors of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) in cereals and can also transmit non-persistent viruses, such as Potato Virus Y (PVY), in potato crops.


What does a Bird cherry-oat aphid look like?

What does a Bird cherry-oat aphid look like?

Picture source: ADAS


Bird cherry–oat aphids are green to dusky brown, with rust red patches at the rear. Adults are 1mm long and oval shaped.

In cereals, BYDV is most damaging when young plants are infected in the autumn. Infections cause leaf yellowing and stunting of plants, often developing in distinct circular patches in the crop.


See also: Aphid flight changes linked to climate change


How to collect and send aphid samples

  • Along a transect in the crop (avoid collecting aphids from one plant), collect plant material carrying aphids
  • About 50–60 aphids is optimum but don’t worry if you can’t collect this many
  • Where possible, crush mummified aphids(see example, right) and avoid gathering natural enemies – ladybirds, hover flies, lacewings, parasitoids – in the sample
  • Put all plant material and aphids in a container (such as a margarine tub or cardboard box with a few small holes) with a small amount of dry tissue paper
  • With each sample container, include: Your name / your contact details / date sampled / crop sampled / location sampled (farm name, town, county) / insecticides used (products, rates and application dates)


How to post live samples:


  • Put all sample containers in a crush-proof box
  • Label the package: 'HANDLE WITH CARE'
  • Post the package first class or next-day courier to: Steve Foster/Martin Williamson BCCP Department, Centenary Building, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts AL5 2 JQ


For more information visit: cereals.ahdb.org.uk/aphidmonitoring


Source: AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds

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