Provision of oilseed rape decision support systems to the UK arable Industry

Project number 21510016

Lead partner CropSave Ltd

Scientific partners N/A

Industry partners N/A

Start date 01 August 2017

End date 31 July 2020

AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds funding £9827 + £600 in-kind

Total funding £10,427

The challenge

Light leaf spot (Pyrenopeziza brassicae) and phoma stem canker (Leptosphaeria maculans) are serious diseases of oilseed rape causing large annual losses to the industry. 

Information is needed to improve the optimum time for fungicide application, as this can help growers achieve effective control of these diseases to increase yields and reduce fungicide use.

The Project

Disease forecasts are generated by the project, by running meteorological data (for example summer temperature and rainfall) through models.

Forecasts are produced each autumn for both light leaf spot and phoma stem canker. An update for light leaf spot, which takes into account winter rainfall level, is also issued each spring.

The phoma leaf spot forecast can predict the date that spores, which cause the initial infection in the autumn, are released and, subsequently, the date when 10 per cent of plants can be expected to be infected at a specific location. This forecast is released once in the autumn with the dates available on a map for each location.

The light leaf spot forecast shows the proportion of the oilseed rape crop estimated to have more than 25 per cent of plants affected by light leaf spot and the percentage of plants predicted to be infected within a crop. The previous season’s light leaf spot pod incidence and summer meteorological data are used in the model for the autumn forecast, while actual winter rainfall is incorporated into the spring update of the forecast. Growers can produce customised forecasts for their crop, which take into account variety (and related disease resistance rating), location, planting date, and autumn fungicide applications. Updates are published on the AHDB website and are sent out to a mailing list. They are also available on Twitter, via @LeafSpot.  

The benefits

The light leaf spot and phoma stem spot forecasts enable growers and agronomists to see the disease risk in their region, helping them to plan fungicide regimes. This helps to improve disease control and yields, while reducing fungicide use. Using this forecast will help growers with their requirement to draw up an integrated crop management plan.

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