CHAP and Fera collaborate to host Agronomists visit

The IndAg group of independent agronomists and environmental advisers operating in North Yorkshire visited the Fera Science Laboratories at Sand Hutton in February.

The visit was jointly hosted by Antonia Walker, Plant Clinic manager at Fera and Chris Delf, Business Development manager at CHAP.

They learned about some of the science of potato cyst nematodes and free living nematodes and during the tour of the laboratory facilities they also saw eelworms being extracted from the cysts.

Regular testing for potato cyst nematodes is an important part of an IPM strategy for the crop.

Fera labs carry out all of the testing for the Plant Health Agency which checks imported produce for pests and diseases. This has led to a “rogues” gallery of unusual insect pests which led to some interesting discussions on standards applied in other parts of the world. Stories of beetles emerging from the woodwork of furniture from well known suppliers, grain mites in hand warmers and tarantulas in fruit kept the discussion lively.

The visitors were also interested in CropMonitor Pro, particularly as decision support systems have not been easy to use up until now.

The tour finished with a visit to the Fera glasshouses where plant disease checks are carried out and the CHAP/Fera mesocosm.

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