Farmers urged to help with short survey on beetles

A study being conducted by a PhD student at CHAP partner Rothamsted Research has been hit by the Coronavirus lockdown.

The study into beneficial beetles by Rothamsted Research post-grad Kelly Jowett, who is co-supervised by the University of Reading, needs assistance from UK farmers.

The initial design of the study had included a series of farmer workshops to be held this year, but Kelly has now adapted it to the current situation by devising an online questionnaire to seek farmer opinions on the benefits of ground beetles in crop protection.

Ground beetles eat a range of important crop pests and can control the populations of livestock pests, they also support biodiverse habitats and provide food resources for threatened farmland wild birds.

The aim is to discover which farm management practices can encourage those ground beetle species that play a role in crop protection, and a vital aspect to this is to include farmers’ preferences. To that end Kelly is asking farmers to take a few minutes to complete the survey.

She said: “With increasing restrictions on pesticides, and public opposition to chemical use, agricultural researchers are looking for new pest management options. Paramount to this is ensuring these are effective and applicable to real world situations. So I’m humbly requesting as many farmers as possible take part or help spread the word, so that I’m able to collect and analyse meaningful data.”

The online survey takes less than 20 minutes to complete and Kelly is appealing for help across social media using the hashtag #BeneficialBeetlesSurvey

To take part in the Beneficial Beetle Survey please click here.

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