From crop protection to crop health: A future for biopesticides?

Farmers and scientific experts have joined forces to investigate the effectiveness of biological crop protection products as replacements, or supplements, to  synthetic fungicides in wheat production in the North of England.

The project is currently into its third growing season and has trialed several cultivars of winter and spring wheat, investigating disease resistance, yield and quality. Working together Farmers and agricultural researchers are working together through the Farmer Scientist Network to discuss significant issues impacting current methods of farming. A developing concern has been the effect of the possible loss of further crop protection agents through regulatory pressures and increased resistance to pathogens.

Taking a closer look…

The challenge has been to examine the potential of biological crop protection agents to either partly or completely replace synthetic fungicides as disease suppressing agents in wheat. In our trials we have used micro-organisms that are used to coat the seed before sowing and sprayed onto the crop to strengthen the plants natural resistance and suppress the ability of pathogen to infect their host.

The trials are split into four treatments:
1. Biological treatment only
2. Standard chemistry
3. IPM (Integrated Pest Management- biological and synthetic
treatments used in combination)
4. Untreated

Where can I visit the trials?

Trials are currently underway at Cockle Park Farm, Morpeth, and Stockbridge Technology Centre, Selby. This includes a field scale trial to demonstrate commercial feasibility. By using trials sites in diverse geographical areas, we can look at different soil and weather conditions to see if this impacts on performance. There are opportunities throughout the year to visit the trial site and learn about the results of these practical experiments from the farm managers looking after them.

To find out more
Please visit: and
For further details
Holly Jones
Tel: 01423 546 251

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