AHDB is calling for research applicants to study the management of virus-spreading aphids in winter cereal crops.
This study forms part of a strategic investment in work on barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) risk and integrated pest management (IPM) strategies in cereals.
Up to £190,000 is available for the three-year project that aims to develop targeted control of the main virus vectors – bird cherry–oat aphid and grain aphid.
As part of a current 12-month pilot study, the feasibility of a field-specific decision-support system for BYDV is being investigated. Due to report in autumn, the work included an industry survey that received 200 responses. Strong support for research in this area was declared. In particular, respondents cited the development of an autumn treatment threshold for aphids as a priority (chosen by 93 per cent of respondents).
Interim results from the pilot work have helped to shape the current research call, which focuses on monitoring and decision support.
Currently, AHDB provides two key monitoring tools: Aphid News, which indicates the levels of cereal aphids flying across Great Britain, and a BYDV management tool, which estimates aphid development to guide spray decisions.
Such tools can focus monitoring efforts but do not provide an accurate picture of field-level risks. Consequently, the research call aims to develop approaches to monitor aphid and virus pressures, both at the landscape level and in the field, more accurately.