Carrot Growers Day

by Julia Hall-Jones

British Carrot Growers gathered at PGRO yesterday for the annual AHDB and British Carrot Growers Association Technical Seminar. This year saw a record attendance of over 80 people from within, and allied to, the carrot industry.

Roy Neilson from the James Hutton Institute informed delegates about coping with free living nematodes. He explained that as EU policy drives a reduction in pesticide usage the industry requires alternative strategies to control soil-borne pathogens. Ultimately, reducing inputs to control pathogens requires a step-change move away from the current reactive crop pathology i.e. action taken when symptoms appear, to preventative crop pathology.

Pete Saunders gave an overview of Syngenta’s product REFLECT: the newly approved fungicide for carrots. Their trials have shown a 20% yield increase with an integrated REFLECT programme. Maximum yields have been achieved when combined with Switch and Amistar Top. The product also offers excellent canker control in parsnips and maintains greenleaf area and increases root weight.

Dr Larissa Collins, a senior Entomologist at FERA gave an update on virus transmission research and aphid flights in 2015. She explained how viruses are transmitted and which aphids are vectors of carrot viruses. She also spoke about insecticide resistance and outlined the principles of virus management.

George Hall from Garford Farm Machinery ran through the range of implements that are available for carrot growers, including the Robocrop precision guided high speed hoes, Robocrop spot sprayers and precision guided hooded sprayers and also the Garford Weedfoil Wiper.

Kathryn Hales of Warwick Crop Centre spoke about the understanding the ecology and epidemiology of Pythium violae to enable disease management in carrots. Kathryn is undertaking a PhD at Warwick Crop Centre studying cavity spot in carrot. This 4 year research project, running from October 2014 to October 2018 is funded by AHDB Horticulture and is entitled ‘The ecology and epidemiology of Pythium violae to enable disease management in carrot crops’. Using a combination of molecular techniques and field-based research she hopes to develop an understanding of Pythium violae as a pathogen and how it interacts with its environment.

Joe Martin of AHDB provided an update on AHDB Horticultures Crop Protection Research. He explained that the AHDB’s strategic priority is to develop IPM systems for major pests and diseases together with associated diagnostic tests and precision management tools. The initial cross sector priority areas are Weeds, Pests and Diseases. Each of these three programmes will run for five years and will be led and reviewed by industry steering committees.

If anyone would like a copy of the above presentations they will be soon available on the AHDB Horticulture website, or contact Dawn Teverson