The Agriculture Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has announced plans to invest up to £60,000 to improve understanding of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) risk in cereals.
The announcement follows the decision by the European Commission (EC) to ban the outdoor use of neonicotinoid seed treatments, which include those used to protect cereal crops from BYDV infection by aphid vectors.
Alternative Measures
In most of the key cereal producing regions in the UK, the grain aphid is the main virus vector. The exception is in the south-west, where the bird cherry-oat aphid is the main vector.
The AHDB research investment comes at a crucial time as seed treatments affected by the ban will need to be used up by December 19, 2018.
In order to prevent a break out of the disease, suitable alternative control measures must be in place within the next year.
Rising Resistance
Commenting on the need for further research, Charlotte Rowley, who manages pest research at AHDB, said: “Although full-rate pyrethroid sprays can provide effective control of aphids, they are becoming resistant.
“At present, this is limited to moderate levels of resistance in grain aphids. But knowledge about BYDV risk needs to be improved, to ensure that sprays are only ever used as a last resort.”
Results for the latest research investment will be seen during autumn 2019, as winter cereals without the option of a neonicotinoid seed treatment will emerge.
‘Essential New Data’
The request for new data is essential, as very little research on the topic has been conducted in the UK this century.
According to AHDB, it is crucial to update data banks and includes recent changes to pest populations, resistance status, farming practices and cereal varieties.
This could potentially enable the development of field-specific risk forecasts for BYDV in wheat, barley and oats.
Researchers can apply for the funding by September 17, 2018.
AHDB has also asked growers to take part in a short survey before November 30, 2018.
The survey is aimed at providing AHDB with information that will guide investment in pest monitoring services over the next five years.