Independent platform helps farmers predict pest and disease risk

By Chap (crop Health & Protection)

With spring underway, farmers will be rolling out their disease control strategies and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes. Launched last year, CropMonitor Pro helps to take the guesswork out of pest pressure.

WITH spring underway, farmers will be rolling out their disease control strategies and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes. Launched last year, CropMonitor Pro helps to take the guesswork out of pest pressure.

Often referred to as the ‘cornerstone of IPM’, monitoring is important in not only assessing pest thresholds and their associated risk to crop health, but also in ensuring that crop protection inputs are applied in a timely and effective manner.

Based on a network of more than 30 independent monitoring sites, CropMonitor Pro decision support system analyses a host of yield-impacting data, including weather, crop growth stage, disease levels, insect counts and disease spore loads.

This is then combined and translated into field-level risk alerts, supporting the farmer in making timely decisions to combat diseases such as septoria tritici, potato late blight and sclerotinia.

The platform was funded by Innovate UK and developed by Fera for Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) – one of the UK’s Agri-Tech Innovation Centres. CHAP CEO, Fraser Black, says: “Developing tools to support the sustainable use of pesticides is critical not only to improve the bottom line of our growers, but also to protect our environment and halt the rapid rise of pesticide resistance emerging in the UK.

“What makes CropMonitor Pro different to other decision support solutions on the market is that it uses independent data that’s then validated against extensive datasets.

“Whether you’re a farmer looking to improve the timeliness of your spray programmes, or an agronomist looking for a field-walking support tool, CropMonitor Pro will help you to demonstrate a commitment to responsible crop protection use.”

As farmers face the loss of more key active ingredients, ensuring optimum performance from remaining chemistry will prove vital. By pinpointing the most likely risk of disease, farmers are applying products in a way that maximises their efficacy and therefore, maximises return on investment.

This is all without compromising the overall spray programme, as CropMonitor Pro’s primary aim is to encourage best practice and improved resistance management. Users may also see added cost benefits, dependent on disease risk per season.

Should an alert need to be actioned, CropMonitor Pro’s four day Met Office weather assessment means users are given more notice, particularly useful if further inputs such as crop protection products need to be procured.

CHAP Commercial Director, Linsey Cresswell, says: “Once registered, users have access to the platform which features a simple traffic light system highlighting crop susceptibility and optimum spray times.

“It’s mobile device compatible so can be used with smartphones and tablets, ideal for remote access.

“Given the recent challenges of Covid-19, this couldn’t be more pertinent as it allows both farmers and agronomists the ability to monitor crop and potential disease development, whilst adhering to the constraints of social distancing.”

CropMonitor Pro is currently available to support oilseed rape, wheat and potato production for farms across England. For more information, visit www.cropmonitor.co.uk or contact Linsey Cresswell – linsey.cresswell@chap-solutions.co.uk

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