Latest Briefing in Climate, water and energy

Spring Barley

Integrated Disease Management in Spring Barley

Intergrated Disease Management (IDM) could help greatly reduce the volume of crops lost to disease in Scotland, contributing to our future food security. It works by integrating plant resistance, fungicides, cultural methods such as appropriate use of fertilisers, and newer, innovative approaches, to provide effective and sustainable disease control.

In Scotland, barley is the second most important crop after grass, with nearly 300,000 ha grown in 2012, with a net value of £315 million. Diseases represent a major constraint to barley production globally, despite considerable effort to control the pathogens responsible. The ability of pathogens to overcome host resistance, development of pathogen insensitivity to fungicides, and the increasing importance of pathogens thought previously to be of minor significance, means that diseases will continue to pose a threat to global barley production.

These constraints, coupled with increasing legislation aimed at protecting the environment, have led to increased efforts to find more sustainable approaches to disease control. Such approaches clearly need to balance protecting the crop from threats such as diseases, pests and weeds, with the need to minimise environmental damage, and requires an integrated approach to crop protection.

IDM represents such an approach and is a continuously improving process in which innovative solutions are integrated and adapted locally by growers. By offering a broad spectrum, integrated approach to disease control, IDM will contribute to reducing reliance on pesticides in agricultural systems.

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Published on 16 December 2014 in Climate, water and energy , Ecosystems and biodiversity , Food, health and wellbeing

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