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Students work to tackle farming challenges

Students have presented ’ground-breaking’ research at AHDB’s studentship event in Stratford-upon-Avon



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Charlotte Rowley, Harper Adams student
Charlotte Rowley, Harper Adams student
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Students work to tackle farming challenges

Students have delivered ’ground-breaking’ findings which could help farmers tackle the big farming challenges today.

 

Charlotte Rowley, a final year Harper Adams student, has researched the biology and ecology of Haplodiplosis marginata which can be used to help farmers detect and control an outbreak.

 

Speaking at the AHDB-wide studentship event, Ms Rowley said: "In 2010, there was an outbreak of H.marginata in central and south east England, however prior to this there was nothing for 40 years.

 

"This meant there was a large gap in research so when it did appear six years ago, farmers had no idea how to treat it."

 

Trap

 

Ms Rowley used the sex pheromone of H.marginata to ’trap’ the pest and detect its presence.

 

"It allowed me to collect data on when it emerges so that I can tell farmers when it’s time to start checking their crop," she said.

 

"The timing is very important as the window of control is quite limited."


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Sarah-Jane

Rothamsted Research and University of Nottingham student Sarah-Jane Osborne presented research on take-all disease in wheat.

 

Ms Osbourne explored genetic and mechanistic basis of resistance to the disease, including looking into a variety of wheat varieties and Phialophora fungus, which is known to supress take-all disease.

 

Results

 

Preliminary results indicate that a subset of the AHDB Recommended List varieties have the ability to build up Phialophora species under a first wheat situation. A second trial is now underway.

 

"The results will come out in the next couple of months which is really exciting," she said.

 

"We have already seen some really promising results in the first year and I am hoping that these second year results will confirm our initial findings."

Hannah Shaw

Hannah Shaw, of the Moredun Research Institute, has researched into minimising the impact of Cryptosporidiosis in beef and dairy calves.

 

"I have seen first-hand the effects of Cryptosporidiosis and felt it was an area that I would like to research," she said.

 

"I have also been trying to estimate the costs that this disease causes on-farm, as accurate information has been lacking."

 

Worth

 

Ms Shaw found a calf with a high level of clinical Cryptosporidiosis could be worth £85 less when it goes to market at around six months of age due to reduced weight gain.

 

Next year, she will look at new and existing disinfectants to see which are best suited to tackle the spread of the parasite so farmers can gain a better insight into how they control the disease.

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