Major research to cut pesticide use

SCIENTISTS at the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) are involved in a major European project to reduce pesticide residues on crops and the types of agro-chemicals available to farmers.

The SCRI is one of the partners in the EU PURE project (Pesticide Use-and-risk Reduction in European farming systems with Integrated Pest Management) which will develop integrated pest and disease management techniques for major EU crops.

Integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) integrates several strategies to reduce weeds, insect pests and diseases while minimising the use of pesticide treatments.

PURE is the biggest agricultural project funded by the EU under the Framework 7 programme with a total value of €12 million. As part of the project SCRI will receive £600,000 funding over four years which will create several new jobs.

The main crops researched will be wheat, maize, field vegetables (brassicas), pome fruits (for example, apples and pears), grapevines and ‘protected’ vegetables grown under polytunnels. The project consortium includes a range of top research and industry partners from across Europe.

SCRI will contribute to several areas of work covering conservation of beneficial insects, landscape engineering, and also novel ways to increase plant defences using elicitors. SCRI will also be a test site for new IPDM strategies in wheat and brassica production systems.

Dr Graham Begg, of SCRI’s Environment Plant Interactions programme, who will lead research into the role of ecological engineering in IPDM, said, “With the reduction in available pesticides, growers will have to look to different and more innovative methods of managing crops and the PURE project will support that move.”

Dr Nick Birch, who co-ordinates SCRI’s input said the aims of the project were also closely linked to research funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate that focuses on more sustainable agriculture, food security and the impacts of environmental change.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Africa Agricultural Research Services cc.
    CK92/025802/23

    Specialises in contract screening and development of agricultural chemicals and crops.

    Pat Hay is an independent closed corporation consultant, since 1992, based in South Africa with thirty-five years agricultural experience, of which ten were in intensive cattle production and twenty-five years in plant protection, ex Hoechst. He has two diplomas in agriculture from S.A and UK and has travelled extensively around the farming world.
    AARS has its own research farms and team of technicians based near Johannesburg / Pretoria in the Hartbeespoort dam area. We carry out multi-disciplinary field and laboratory trials on insecticide, herbicide, fungicide, nematicides and other, in the most common crops such as, maize, soy, wheat, vegetables, ornamentals, citrus and others with emphasis on organics and biotechnology.
    All data is initiated, captured, analysed and reported on computer with the latest Agricultural Research Manager programme (ARM 8.2.0).
    Most experimental work is liased with the Department of Agriculture; Registrars office, act no 36 of 1947, SABS, CSIR and multiple research institutions.
    Some of the better farming in South Africa is carried out in the Skeerpoort valley, which has a temperate climate, with the sub-tropical Brits irrigation scheme over the Magaliesberg range. In the west, we have the major maize growing area of South Africa.
    This is a practical research farming situation with variable soil types (including rented lands), irrigation, tractors and specialised research farm machinery. A small greenhouse and laboratory is also used extensively for “field – laboratory” trials.
    AARS does international business with the Northern Hemisphere, Asia, Europe, USA, and other countries in their winter, besides the multinational business in the South African summer (BASF, Monsanto, Du Pont, Syngenta, etc).

    Confidential, Economical, Efficient and Trust are his key principals.

    Member: Pat Hay, P.O. Box 131, Skeerpoort, 0232.

    Co-ordinates: S 25 49’52.4 & E 027 46”57.4

    Cell: +27 (0) 79 519 9752, Fax: +27 (0) 86 685 8393,

    E-mail – aars@iafrica.com, Web site – www.aars.co.za.

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