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Warwick Crop Centre involved in horticultural research projects helping to address an increasing risk posed by plant diseases
New gene data suggests various plant diseases are becoming more infectious, but chemical losses are forcing researchers to think outside the box when looking for new ways of controlling them.
This Science Special article on disease control highlights the following horticultural research projects (that Warwick Crop centre is involved in) to help tackle some of these yield battering diseases:
- The Waitrose Collaborative Training Partnership as part of the academic community that links with leading fresh produce suppliers to find solutions for growers in the three main areas: sustainable crop production, sustainable soil and water, and biodiversity and ecosystems services in agriculture.
- A PhD project study with plant pathologist supervisor Dr John Clarkson examining integrated control of Sclerotinia disease in celery and lettuce with the aim of finding alternative control methods to pesticidies.
The project is 'looking at the different strains of Sclerotinia in different places because they may be genetically different and may respond to different growing conditions in varying ways' Professor Rosemary Collier
- An AHDB SCEPTREplus research programme which aims to identify new products or adapt the application methods or timing of existing ones to control particulary problematic and high priority pests and diseases.
'We've been having a lot of problems with bean seed fly because the most effective way of controlling it is with a seed treatment and there just aren't any new alternative available at the moment'...'We're looking at alternative approaches in trying to manage it such as leaving it longer before you sow the crop since the flies are very attracted to newly cultivated soil' Professor Rosemary Collier
Interview with Fatma - The Founder of Shillingford Organics Farm School - by Becca McGowan, Warwick Crop Centre
Fatma Sabet (pictured) is the founder of Shillingford Organics Farm School. Farm School is a social enterprise which runs sessions for kids in its miniature version of Shillingford Organics. At the school, children and their parents or school teachers learn how to grow, care for, harvest and cook produce. They also get the opportunity to observe the practises taking place on the farm and learn about the nature which supports the farm’s agricultural activities. If Farm School is not enough to keep her busy, Fatma is also in her first year of a PhD at the University of Exeter. An aim of her PhD is to create an intervention in the school food system to optimise healthiness and sustainability. In the light of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, like most schools and extracurricular clubs, Farm School has been forced to close.
PhD student, Becca McGowan from the School of Life Science's, Warwick Crop Centre interviews Fatma to understand how Covid-19 has affected Farm School and its pupils and her thoughts on its implications for the diets of children.